Stage 3   Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which kidney function declines gradually over time and can possibly lead to kidney failure in some patients. CKD Stage 3 occurs when your eGFR falls between 30-59. Find out the symptoms, treatment options and how to manage your kidney disease at this stage.  

An overview of stage 3 chronic kidney disease  

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) stages

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is divided into 5 stages based on kidney function, and whether there are signs of blood or protein in the urine.  

At CKD stage 3, your kidneys have been moderately damaged. Therefore, they are not filtering salts and toxins optimally and maintaining fluid balance may be a problem.   Based on the level of kidney function, this stage is further split into two sub-stages: CKD Stage 3a, and CKD Stage 3b, which may result in some variations in the treatment approach.  

At CKD Stage 3, your doctor will be closely monitoring you to see if there is protein in the urine, as higher amounts of protein can mean more risk of CKD progression and an increased need for treatments.  

Symptoms of stage 3 chronic kidney disease  

CKD is a silent condition as it does not display any symptoms during the early few stages. The first signs and symptoms typically only begin to appear in Stage 3 or later once the decline in kidney function leads to a notable toxin and fluid build-up in the body.   

The symptoms of CKD stage 3 may include:   

  • Fatigue   
  • Swelling in your hands and feet    
  • Change in urine colour or volume 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Itch 
  • Poor appetite  

These symptoms may not occur at all or at the same time and may appear only gradually as CKD progresses. However, it is important to be aware of these symptoms during each stage, including what you may experience and why.   

 Your doctor will also be performing blood and urine tests regularly to gauge your CKD stage and its risk of progression.  

Treatment for stage 3 chronic kidney disease 

Illustration of woman consulting with doctor about kidney disease and treatment options

Treatment for CKD stage 3 is aimed at slowing down the rate of progression and managing the health issues caused by declining kidney function.  

Drugs such as Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and now sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors are effective at reducing further kidney damage and slowing down the progression of CKD. Other treatments and changes in diet may also be required for possible health issues that may arise due to CKD, such as anaemia or high salt levels. However, there is no requirement for dialysis during stage 3 CKD.  

Illustration of doctor explaining kidney treatment to patient

Managing stage 3 chronic kidney disease 

Once diagnosed with CKD stage 3, it is important that you make some lifestyle changes and work with your doctor to optimally manage your condition. At this stage, your regular doctor is likely to refer you to a kidney specialist, also known as a nephrologist, to oversee your care in the long run.   

Depending on your overall health, the required lifestyle changes can differ, but typically these will include specific changes to your diet, moderate exercises, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, monitoring your general condition, and any other recommendations that your healthcare team may have for you.  

Illustration of doctor explaining kidney disease condition and treatment options to elderly patient

The prognosis for stage 3 chronic kidney disease  

At CKD stage 3, your kidneys are moderately damaged, and kidney function has declined. Treatments can effectively slow the progression of CKD and manage other health issues.  

 Stage 3 is still far from kidney failure, and a diagnosis at this stage can help improve the disease progression as treatment can commence, and the progression will be monitored carefully. It is possible to stay on CKD stage 3 for years with your kidney disease not progressing to end-stage kidney disease.