Understanding Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – A Comprehensive Guide

Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a silent but potentially devastating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It progresses through different stages, with Stage 3 chronic kidney disease (also known as renal impairment stage 3 or chronic kidney disease stage iii) being a critical milestone. In this article, we’ll dive deep into Stage 3 CKD, exploring its symptoms, diagnostic methods, treatments, and how you can slow down the damage to your kidneys. Let’s embark on this journey of understanding and managing CKD effectively.

What is Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease?

Stages of CKD
Chronic kidney disease is classified into five stages based on the GFR level:

Stage 1: Kidney damage with normal GFR (greater than 90 ml/min)
Stage 2: Mild reduction in GFR (60-89 mL/min)
Stage 3a: Moderate reduction in GFR (45 to 59 mL/min)
Stage 3b: Moderate reduction in GFR (30 to 44 mL/min)
Stage 4: Severe reduction in GFR (15 to 29 mL/min)
Stage 5: Renal failure (GFR less than 15 mL/min)

Stage 3 CKD signifies a point in the progression of kidney disease where your kidneys have sustained mild to moderate damage. As a result, they become less efficient at filtering waste and excess fluid from your bloodstream. This buildup of waste, known as uremia, can lead to several health complications, including high blood pressure, anemia, and skeletal issues.

Stage 3 CKD is further divided into two sub-stages based on your estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR):

  • Stage 3a: eGFR between 45 and 59.
  • Stage 3b: eGFR between 30 and 44.

How Serious is Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease?

Stage 3 CKD is often referred to as the “middle stage” of kidney disease. While your kidneys are damaged at this point, they typically retain enough functionality to prevent the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, kidney disease is rarely curable at this stage, and the damage incurred is usually irreversible. However, there is hope – with the right treatments and lifestyle changes, many people in Stage 3 can effectively prevent further progression to Stage 4 or Stage 5, which is kidney failure.

Symptoms of Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease

At this stage, some individuals may not experience any noticeable symptoms. However, for many, this is when kidney disease starts to affect their overall health. Common symptoms of Stage 3 CKD include:

  1. Fatigue: You may feel weak and tired.
  2. Edema:Swelling in your hands or feet.
  3. Dry or Itchy Skin: Skin may become dry and itchy.
  4. Lower Back Pain: You might experience pain in your lower back.
  5. Muscle Cramps: Unexplained muscle cramps.
  6. Sleep Disturbances: Trouble sleeping or restless leg syndrome.
  7. Changes in Urination: You might urinate more or less frequently than normal, and your urine may appear foamy or darker than usual.

Diagnosing Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease

Many individuals discover they have CKD when they start experiencing symptoms during Stage 3. To determine your stage of CKD, doctors use various diagnostic tests, including:

  • eGFR Blood Tests: These tests measure the glomerular filtration rate, which is a key indicator of kidney function.
  • Urine Tests: Urinalysis helps doctors assess the presence of protein or other abnormal components in your urine.

For kidney disease blood tests & advanced biomarkers 

68 naturopathic interventions spanning over 14 amazing chapters, supported by hundreds of medical studies published in journals of medicine, biochemistry and nephrology, to improve kidney’s health

Identifying the Cause of CKD

Understanding what caused your CKD is crucial for determining the most effective treatment. Doctors may conduct additional tests, such as:

  • Blood Pressure Checks: To evaluate your blood pressure levels.
  • Imaging Tests: These include ultrasounds, CTscans, or MRIs to examine the condition of your kidneys.
  • Kidney Biopsy: A procedure where a small piece of kidney tissue is examined under a microscope.
  • Genetic Testing: If a genetic cause is suspected or there is a family history of kidney disease.

Treatment for Stage 3 CKD

Managing Stage 3 CKD involves a multifaceted approach to address both the symptoms and associated health problems. Treatments may include:

  • Blood Pressure Medications: Medications like ACE inhibitors and ARBs are used to manage blood pressure, even if it’s not high, as they can slow down kidney damage.
  • Diabetes Medications: If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar levels is crucial.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements: These help maintain bone health.
  • Diuretics: These medications help reduce swelling by promoting increased urination.
  • Iron Supplements: To address anemia, a common complication of CKD.

In addition to these treatments, it’s essential to discontinue any medications that may worsen kidney damage. Inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs.

Slowing Down Kidney Damage

Aside from medical treatments, making healthy lifestyle changes can significantly impact the progression of CKD. One of the most effective ways to slow kidney damage is through dietary adjustments. A registered dietitian can be a valuable resource, providing guidance on a “kidney-friendly” diet tailored to your specific needs.

Other essential lifestyle changes to consider include:

  • Regular Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Activities can vary from walking or biking to swimming or dancing.
  • Managing Diabetes: If you have diabetes, adhere to your treatment plan to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking and tobacco use can exacerbate kidney damage, so quitting is paramount.

Alternate Therapies for Chronic Kidney Disease

Few promising & alternate therapies (that works at stage 3 as well) that have surfaced lately –

  • Ketoanalogues of amino acids (KAs) are nitrogen-free analogs of essential amino acids. The “Keto diet” refers to a variety of KA and low-protein diets (LPDs; 0.6 g/kg per day) or very-low-protein diets (VLPDs; 0.3–0.4 g/kg per day). These diets allow for a reduced intake of nitrogen while avoiding the detrimental consequences of inadequate dietary protein intake and malnourishment. They have been proven effective in reducing renal death in selected, well-nourished, progressive CKD patients with proven diet adherence and low comorbidity.
    • One research on stage 3 to Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients who did not enter the maintenance dialysis stage proved that a restricted protein diet supplemented with Ketoanalogues could delay the progression of CKD, prevent hyperphosphatemia and hyperparathyroidism, and benefit blood pressure control without causing malnutrition. 
  • Precision Probiotics: A large decrease in urea nitrogen levels (BUN) in the blood and a positive prognosis for chronic kidney disease were reported in a multinational trial on stages 3 and 4 of the disease. The trial used a special combination of S. thermophilus, L. acidophilus, and B. longum, and the study lasted for six months.

Alternate therapies & interventions to slow down kidney disease, even at Stage 3+.

68 naturopathic interventions spanning over 14 amazing chapters, supported by hundreds of medical studies published in journals of medicine, biochemistry and nephrology, to improve kidney’s health


Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease is a pivotal point in the progression of this condition. While the damage to your kidneys may not be reversible, proactive management can significantly slow down its progression. This includes adhering to treatment plans, making healthy lifestyle changes, and consulting with healthcare professionals to ensure your individual needs are met.

Remember, early detection and intervention are key to effectively managing CKD, so if you suspect any symptoms or have risk factors, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. With the right approach, you can enhance your quality of life and maintain kidney function for as long as possible.


  • Jiang Z., Zhang X., Yang L., Li Z., Qin W. Effect of restricted protein diet supplemented with keto analogues in chronic kidney disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int. Urol. Nephrol. 2018;50:687–694. doi: 10.1007/s11255-017-1713-9.
  • N. Ranganathan, P. Ranganathan, E. A. Friedman et al., “Pilot study of probiotic dietary supplementation for promoting healthy kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease,” Advances in Therapy, vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 634–647, 2010.

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