Areas of expertise / Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease

What are we talking about?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) refers to the gradual deterioration of renal function over a minimum period of three months, leading to compromised kidney functionality in performing essential physiological tasks. Developing CKD is usually a very slow process with very few symptoms at first. CKD is therefore divided into 5 stages to help guide treatment decisions (1,2,3).

The stages of CKD

CKD is assessed through two tests: a blood test known as estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and a urine test known as urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR) (1,2).

According to the National Kidney Foundation, “having an eGFR of less than 60 and/or a uACR higher than 30 for three months or more is a sign you may have kidney disease” (1).

Prevalence and consequences

The consequences of CKD are multifaceted and escalate as the condition progresses. These encompass a spectrum of complications, notably cardiovascular disease, hypertension, anemia, metabolic acidosis, mineral and bone disorder, hyperkalemia, and ultimately, kidney failure. It is crucial to recognize that certain comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension, not only contribute to CKD but also exacerbate its severity (1,2,3).

The role of oral nutritional supplements

Oral nutritional supplements are an essential tool for providing personalized nutrition to patients with CKD, adapting to the specific stage of the disease. In the early stages of CKD, these supplements play a crucial role in helping control the intake of certain nutrients such as protein, sodium, phosphorus, and potassium, thereby contributing to delaying disease progression and preventing complications. As CKD advances, these supplements allow for flexible adjustments to meet the changing nutritional needs of the patient (3).

Frequent questions

1. What are the key functions of the kidneys in the human body?

The kidneys play several vital roles in maintaining overall physiological equilibrium (1):

  • Excret waste products and excess water from the body
  • Contribute to erythropoiesis, the process of red blood cell production
  • Balance the levels of essential minerals within the body
  • Participate in the control of blood pressure
  • Contribute to the maintenance of bone health
2. Does CKD significantly impact the life expectancy of patients?

While kidney failure is a serious condition, effective treatment enables many individuals with renal failure to maintain a robust, active lifestyle, pursuing activities they enjoy (1,3).

3. Why is good nutrition important for people with kidney disease?

Ensuring optimal dietary choices becomes essential, particularly for individuals managing kidney disease. A balanced and nutritious diet serves several crucial purposes (1,3):

  • Facilitating sufficient energy levels to fulfill daily activities
  • Controlling certain micronutrients of the daily intake, such as sodium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium, due to the kidney’s diminished ability to filter and balance minerals and electrolytes in the body.
  • Fostering resistance against infections
  • Mitigating the risk of muscle atrophy
  • Supporting weight management endeavors
  • Decelerating the advancement of kidney disease


  1. National Kidney Foundation. About chronic kidney disease (CKD). 2024.
  2. Cockwell P. The global burden of chronic kidney disease. 2022.
  3. World Health Organization. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. 2013.

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