Navigating life with chronic kidney disease is not easy as the patients have to go through lots of physical and psychological ups and downs. This includes several sleepless nights, constant fatigue, and swelling in the lower extremities. Not to mention, the degrading health of the kidney. Therefore, you must be well-informed about Stage 3 Kidney Disease.

In this article, we discuss the following:

  • Understanding Stage 3 kidney disease 
  • Symptoms of Stage 3 Kidney Disease 
  • Diagnosis and Treatment Options 
  • Coping with Stage 3 Kidney Disease 
  • Outlook and Prognosis 
  • Frequently asked questions

Understanding Stage 3 Kidney Disease 

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive renal disease that gradually decreases kidney function. Depending on the glomerular filtration rate or GFR, this disease is divided into multiple stages. GFR measures the kidneys’ filtering capacity. Stage 3 Kidney Disease represents a critical phase characterized by a GFR ranging from 30 to 59 milliliters per minute per 1.73 square meters.

At this stage, individuals experience a moderate decline in kidney function. Although CKD is often asymptomatic in Stage 3, certain indicators may arise as kidney function declines. For instance, patient may start experiencing symptoms like fatigue, swelling in the hands and feet, changes in urine output, and persistent high blood pressure may be present. Recognizing these signs is important for early detection and intervention. 

Symptoms of Stage 3 Kidney Disease 

While CKD, including Stage 3, can be asymptomatic in its early stages, some common symptoms may emerge as the condition progresses. They are as follows:

  1. Fatigue:

Fatigue is a prevalent symptom in Stage 3 Kidney Disease, resulting in ongoing feelings of weariness and diminished energy levels. This persistent tiredness can significantly impact daily activities and overall quality of life for affected individuals. Proper management and treatment of the underlying kidney condition are essential to alleviate the burden of fatigue. 

  1. Swelling or edema:

Swelling, also known as edema, is a common manifestation in Stage 3 Kidney Disease. It typically occurs in the hands, feet, ankles, or face due to the kidneys’ reduced ability to eliminate excess fluid from the body. This fluid retention can lead to discomfort, puffiness, and a noticeable increase in size in the affected areas. Proper medical management is crucial to alleviate swelling and prevent its progression. 

  1. Hypertension:

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, often accompanies Stage 3 Kidney Disease. The impaired kidney function can disrupt the body’s regulation of blood pressure, resulting in chronically elevated readings. Managing hypertension is crucial to prevent further damage to the kidneys and reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications. Close monitoring, lifestyle modifications, and appropriate medications are essential components of blood pressure management in this stage of kidney disease.

  1. Changes in urine output:

Changes in urine output are common in Stage 3 Kidney Disease. This can involve increased or decreased production of urine, altered frequency or urgency of urination, or noticeable changes in the appearance or consistency of urine. Monitoring these variations is important as they can indicate worsening kidney function.

  1. Sleep disturbances:

Sleep disturbances often occur in Stage 3 Kidney Disease, causing difficulties in falling asleep or maintaining restful sleep. Individuals may experience insomnia, restless sleep patterns, or frequent awakenings during the night. These disruptions can further contribute to feelings of fatigue and impact overall well-being.   

Diagnosis and Treatment Options 

As a CKD patient, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment options for Stage 3 Kidney Disease are essential to manage the disease and preserve kidney function. 

Diagnosis tests for Stage 3 Kidney Disease  

Some common diagnostic tests include the following:

  1. Blood tests:

The most common diagnostic test that your Nephrologist will recommend you is blood test. It helps to measure elements like creatinine which provides an estimate of the glomerular filtration rate or GFR. GFR is a key indicator of kidney function and helps categorize the disease into different stages. 

  1. Urine tests:

Urine tests like urinalysis or urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio helps to detect the presence of abnormalities like  proteinuria which is common in kidney disease. 

  1. Imaging studies:

Imaging studies, such as ultrasound or CT scans, may also be conducted to assess the structure of the kidneys and identify any abnormalities.

Once Stage 3 Kidney Disease is diagnosed, your doctor will choose appropriate treatment options that will be unique for your circumstances. 

Treatment Options for Stage 3 Kidney Disease

The treatment of Stage 3 Kidney Disease included managing the symptoms, slowing down the progress of the disease, and avoiding possible complications. The following are the most commonly used options:

  1. Medications:

Depending on the underlying causes and associated complications your Nephrologist may prescribe medications to control high blood pressure, manage anemia, regulate mineral and bone disorders, and address other related conditions. These medications are tailored to individual needs and are intended to preserve kidney function and improve overall health.

  1. Lifestyle changes:

Lifestyle changes are another essential aspect of managing Stage 3 Kidney Disease. Modifying certain habits and adopting a healthy lifestyle can positively impact kidney function and overall well-being. It may include quitting smoking, regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, and controlling blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

  1. Dietary modifications:

Dietary modifications are also often recommended for people with Stage 3 Kidney Disease. A kidney-friendly diet typically involves reducing salt intake, limiting protein consumption, monitoring fluid intake, and avoiding or moderating the consumption of certain foods that may worsen kidney function. 

Coping with Stage 3 Kidney Disease 

Coping with Stage 3 Kidney Disease involves considering both emotional and psychological well-being of a person. Here’s how you can foster good health through good coping habits:   

  1. Support networks and resources:

Connecting with others who are also navigating similar experiences can provide a sense of belonging, understanding, and empowerment. 

Joining support groups, either in-person or online, can provide an avenue for sharing experiences, learning from others, and receiving emotional support. 

You can also ask your Nephrologists to provide you with information about local resources, educational materials, and counseling services.

  1. Lifestyle adjustments:

Adopting healthy habits and making lifestyle modifications can have a positive impact on overall well-being and kidney health. Regular physical activity, as approved by healthcare providers, can help manage weight, control blood pressure, and improve overall fitness. Engaging in activities like meditation, yoga, or hobbies can also contribute to emotional well-being.

  1. Dietary modifications:

A kidney-friendly diet, as advised by healthcare professionals or registered dietitians, aims to reduce the workload on the kidneys and maintain optimal nutritional balance. 

This may involve limiting sodium, potassium, and phosphorus intake, as well as monitoring fluid intake. Sticking to the prescribed dietary recommendations can help you manage symptoms and maintain kidney function.

  1. Effective communication with the healthcare team:

Regularly scheduled appointments allow for discussions about treatment progress, concerns, and adjustments to the management plan. 

Open and honest communication with your doctor will foster a collaborative approach to care. It ensures that people receive the necessary support and guidance throughout their journey.

  1. Education and self-empowerment:

Increasing your knowledge about stage 3 kidney disease and its treatment option will help you make informed decisions. 

By staying informed and engaging yourself in self-empowerment activities, you can improve your ability to cope with Stage 3 Kidney Disease.

Outlook and Prognosis 

Factors influencing prognosis 

The prognosis of Stage 3 Kidney Disease is impacted by several factors. Firstly, the underlying cause of kidney disease plays a significant role in understanding disease prognosis. 

Autoimmune or genetic disorders can result in rapid progression of the disease and a poorer prognosis compared to other causes. Diseases like diabetes or hypertension can also impact the progression of kidney disease.

Your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) level is another important factor that impacts prognosis of the stage 3 CKD. It shows the level of kidney function.

However, it is important to note that each individual’s situation is unique, and prognosis should be assessed by healthcare professionals based on the overall clinical picture.

Long-term outlook and considerations 

Managing Stage 3 Kidney Disease effectively is key to improving the long-term outlook and considering potential complications. 

Sticking to recommended treatment plans, including medications, lifestyle modifications, and dietary adjustments, can significantly slow down the progression of the disease and potentially delay the need for dialysis or transplantation.

Regular monitoring of kidney function through follow-up appointments and laboratory tests is crucial in assessing the effectiveness of the management plan and making necessary adjustments. 

It allows the Nephrologists to track the progress of the disease, identify possible complications, and take proactive measures to address them.

It is essential to consider the long-term implications and potential complications associated with Stage 3 Kidney Disease. When the disease is left untreated, it can advance to a more serious stage where the kidneys would no longer function adequately to sustain life. 

However, with appropriate management you can significantly slow down the progression and maintain a better quality of life.


While Stage 3 Kidney Disease may present its challenges, encouragement, and support are abundantly available to help you on your journey. 

Surround yourself with a strong support system, connect with support groups, and maintain open communication with your healthcare professionals. Above all, be kind to yourself and celebrate your progress. 

With the right support and a positive mindset, you can effectively manage Stage 3 Kidney Disease and lead a fulfilling life.

Frequently asked questions 

  1. What is the best treatment for stage 3 kidney disease?

The best treatment for Stage 3 Kidney Disease depends on the underlying cause and a person’s circumstances. It may include medication, lifestyle changes, and dietary modifications.

  1. How do you cope with kidney disease?

Coping with kidney disease involves a multi-faceted approach. It includes seeking emotional support from loved ones and support groups, staying informed about the condition, sticking to the treatment plans, making necessary lifestyle adjustments, and actively engaging in self-care.

  1. Can you live 20 years with stage 3 kidney disease?

Yes. With appropriate management, you can live for more than 20 years with Stage 3 Kidney Disease. The progress of CKD differs for each person and it is influenced by underlying cause, adherence to treatment, and lifestyle modifications.

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