Are there Signs and Symptoms of CKD?

As your Kidney Function decreases you may experience some of the following symptoms

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Swelling in hands, feet, ankles or face
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in how often you urinate
  • Decrease in concentration
  • Bad taste in your mouth

Not everyone will have symptoms and some people may only feel some of them.

Some patients put off coming to Education classes or even treatment that is recommended because the disease can be such a slow progression, some people forgot how “good” actually feels; they get used to this new lower level as their baseline.

Sometimes it is not until a patient starts dialysis or has a transplant that they realize how bad they were actually feeling.

This is a good reason to take someone with you to doctor appointments so that they can help give the doctor an accurate picture.

What can I do about Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease cannot be cured but it can be treated. If detected early, you may be able to slow the progression of the disease.

It is in your best interest to

  • Keep all of your Doctor Appointments
  • Don’t be afraid to “Speak Up”
  • Don’t put up a “good front.” Be open and honest with the doctor so that they can do what is right for you
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar in control
  • If you have hypertension, make sure your blood pressure is controlled
  • Make sure your risks for heart attack and stroke are minimized because kidney patients are susceptible to heart and circulation problems
  • Take all medications that your doctor prescribes
  • Discuss any side effects with your doctor; contact your doctor before you discontinue a medication
  • Do regular physical activity; ask your doctor for the right plan for you
    • Exercise can be walking up and down the block or walking around the house. For an exercise program, call the National Kidney Foundation’s- Enhanced Fitness at 1. 800.482.1455
  • Follow your prescribed diet. The goal is to slow the progression of your kidney disease
  • Learn all you can about CKD so that you are able to make the best decisions for you

“Need to Know” Numbers

Creatinine, 0.6 – 1.2

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), 10 – 25

Potassium (K), 3.5 – 5.0

Phosphorous (PO4), 2.5 – 4.5

Calcium (Ca), 8.2 – 10.2

Hemoglobin (Hgb), 12 – 15

GFR (See GFR section)

  • Different labs have slightly different normal ranges
  • Your lab report will have your test result and the normal range next to it
    • Be sure to check with your doctor about your personal levels

For help with medications:

  • Use a Mail-in Prescription Program
    • Henry Ford has a program. When you enroll in this program you don’t run out of your medications. You may want to consider so there is no missed days until you pick your script up at the pharmacy.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps you locate low cost or free medication program

Medication Reminder Tips:

  • Use a pill box with the days of the week on it
  • Always put your pills in a location that is most helpful and will remind you to take them
  • Set an alarm for the time you are supposed to take your medication(s)

What are the Most Common Causes of Kidney Disease?


  • Diabetes is the #1 cause of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
  • Nearly 30-40% of the 19 million people with diabetes, in the US, will develop CKD.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

  • Hypertension is the 2nd leading cause of CKD

Please see our helpful list of downloadable materials below to learn more about each related topic.

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