Kidney Diet Tips


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Kidney Health 101: What are Stage 1 and 2 Kidney Disease?

Did you know that chronic kidney disease (CKD) comes in stages? There are five stages of CKD and you may have heard from your doctor about what stage you are in. If you have stage 1 or 2 CKD, this typically means kidney damage either doesn’t affect the ability to filter blood (stage 1) or causes only a mild decrease in filtration (stage 2).

Kidney disease caught this early may happen when a doctor identifies warning signs during tests for other conditions. Your routine bloodwork may also include warning signs, but this typically happens only if you have a significant decrease in kidney function.  There is no cure for kidney disease; however, if your doctor detects CKD in stage 1 or 2, you might be able to slow down or even halt its progress.

Living with Stages 1 and 2 Kidney Disease

Because your kidneys are still filtering your blood—although maybe not at 100 percent—during the early stages of kidney disease, it’s important that you talk with your doctor about what types of lifestyle choices can help you maintain your health. One of the main things you may hear about is your diet. While you may not need to follow a restricted diet the same way someone with late stage kidney disease does, your doctor may talk with you about how your diet can affect other risk factors for CKD progression, such as blood sugar and diabetes or sodium and high blood pressure.

Making thoughtful, healthy diet choices for your kidney health is something we discuss on the Kidney Diet Tips Blog, and it’s just as important to make those good choices even when you’re diagnosed with CKD as early as stage 1 or stage 2.

No matter what stage of CKD you have, the Kidney Diet Tips Blog is a great place to find information about kidney-friendly food choices you can make in your day-to-day life. Discovering new ways to approach food—from putting together tasty meals using only one pan to understanding your vitamin and mineral needs—can help you keep your kidney disease in check.

Your doctor can also talk with you about other ways to maintain your early stage CKD diagnosis, including:

  • Keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level
  • Controlling your blood sugar or diabetes
  • Scheduling regular checkups with your doctor
  • Taking your medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Exercising regularly
  • Stopping smoking

Learning More with Kidney Smart

You can learn even more about the stages of CKD by checking out a Kidney Smart® class. Kidney Smart offers online and in-person classes that discuss the causes of kidney disease, kidney diet resources and treatment options available to patients with kidney disease.

Kidney Smart has helped many patients and their loved ones learn about lifestyle changes to consider. For example, when Debra’s husband experienced a heart attack, his blood work showed that he had kidney disease. He and Debra felt overwhelmed and weren’t sure about how to find answers.

 “The Kidney Smart class helped us focus in on our diet,” Debra says.

In addition to learning what foods they should incorporate into their diets and what to avoid, they also found answers to their questions about insurance and other aspects of kidney disease.

“After our Kidney Smart class, we felt hopeful. And we felt that there was someone else out there to help us.”

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Diet Helper online meal planner and tracker

DaVita Kidney-Friendly recipes

Today’s Kidney Diet cookbooks

Diet and Nutrition articles

Kidney Smart® Classes taught by kidney experts in your area

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Kidney Diet & Health Tips Team

Kidney Diet & Health Tips Team

The Kidney Diet & Health Tips Team offers insights and tips on kidney health.