What Is Stage 2 of Chronic Kidney Disease? Everything to Know

Medically Reviewed By Chris Young, DNP, RN, NE-BC, NPD
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Stage 2 chronic kidney disease (CKD) is one of the earlier stages of kidney disease. People in this stage show only mild kidney damage and may not experience any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include swelling and urinary tract infections. There are five stages of CKD, with stage 2 being one of the more mild stages. Some people in stage 2 may not know they have kidney disease. Many symptoms are not apparent until stage 3.

Mild damage to the kidneys is characteristic of stage 2 CKD. People with stage 2 kidney disease typically live for a long time if they manage symptoms and make necessary lifestyle changes.

Other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, commonly cause CKD. In this case, keep in regular contact with your doctor. Your doctor can help you manage CKD and keep it from progressing past stage 2.

This article looks at the possible symptoms and causes of stage 2 kidney disease. It also discusses treatment options, when to contact a doctor, and more.

What are the symptoms of stage 2 kidney disease?

Kidney design on a pink background
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Symptoms of stage 2 kidney disease may not be apparent. Symptoms often do not appear until stage 3.

However, there are some symptoms and signs that doctors may notice during stage 2 kidney disease. The most common are:

  • high blood pressure
  • swelling in the hands and feet
  • protein in the urine
  • urinary tract infections
  • hematuria, blood in the urine
  • kidney damage that shows up on imaging tests or biopsy

Learn about symptoms never to ignore if you have kidney disease.

What causes stage 2 kidney disease?

Chronic medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, most commonly cause stage 2 kidney disease.

Over time with diabetes, high amounts of sugar in the blood start to damage the organs in the body. This includes the kidneys.

High blood pressure causes the pressure inside the walls of the blood vessels to increase, leading to damage. Over time, high blood pressure is responsible for heart attacks, strokes, and CKD.

Other conditions that can cause stage 2 kidney disease include:

Learn more about kidney disease causes and risk factors.

What are the treatments for stage 2 kidney disease?

A nephrologist often treats stage 2 kidney disease. A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in the care of the kidneys.

In stage 2, it is rare that the kidneys stop working entirely. This usually does not happen until stage 5. The main focus of treatment in stage 2 is making lifestyle changes and controlling chronic medical conditions. These actions may keep the kidney disease from progressing to further stages.

The first step may be to manage any chronic conditions you may have. If you have diabetes, your doctor will work with you to keep your blood sugar within normal range. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medication to help control your blood pressure.

Your doctor also may recommend the following lifestyle changes to slow the progression of CKD:

  • getting enough regular exercise
  • reducing alcohol intake
  • quitting smoking
  • eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

Your doctor may suggest working with a dietitian, who can help you choose foods that are healthy for your kidneys.

When should I see a doctor?

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor to help manage these conditions and prevent kidney disease.

Contact your doctor if you have repeated urinary tract infections or notice blood in your urine. These can be signs of kidney disease and should be addressed right away.

This kidney disease appointment guide can help you prepare for your appointment.

How do doctors diagnose stage 2 kidney disease?

Doctors diagnose stage 2 kidney disease through a variety of tests, including:

  • blood tests
  • urine tests
  • imaging tests
  • kidney biopsy

Blood tests

Blood tests are the main tests to diagnose kidney disease. A blood test looks for a waste product in the blood called creatinine.

Your doctor will use the blood test plus your age, size, gender, and ethnic group to calculate your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The eGFR is a measurement of how many milliliters of waste your kidney can filter every minute (mL/min).

Healthy kidneys can filter 90 mL/min. During stage 2 kidney disease, the kidneys only filter 60–89 mL/min.

Urine tests

Urine tests check for substances such as albumin and creatinine in the urine. This is known as the urine albumin-creatinine ratio (uCRA). Urine tests can also detect blood or protein in the urine.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests can show what the kidneys look like and detect blockages. Imaging tests your doctor may order include:

Kidney biopsy

A kidney biopsy involves taking a small sample of tissue from the kidney and examining it under a microscope. This can help with detecting signs of kidney damage.

Your doctor can explain the tests they order and answer any questions you may have.

Find out more about how doctors diagnose kidney disease.

What is the outlook for a person with stage 2 kidney disease?

People with stage 2 kidney disease generally have only mild kidney damage. They can expect a positive outlook.

You can live for many years with stage 2 kidney disease. Later stages of kidney disease lower life expectancy.

Your doctor will discuss your outlook with you with reference to your own circumstances.

What are the other stages of chronic kidney disease?

CKD has 5 stages:

  • Stage 1: There is mild kidney damage with a normal eGFR. Protein is present in the urine.
  • Stage 2: eGFR has decreased to 60–89 mL/min. There is damage to the kidneys that may or may not be reversible.
  • Stage 3: The kidneys have mild to moderate damage. There is a buildup of waste called uremia in the body. Stage 3a eGFR is 45–59 mL/min. Stage 3b eGFR is 30–44 mL/min.
  • Stage 4: The kidneys are moderately to severely damaged. This can cause other health problems, such as heart disease and bone disease. The eGFR is 15–29 mL/min.
  • Stage 5: The kidneys stop working entirely and can no longer remove waste from the body. Dialysis is needed. The eGFR in this stage is lower than 15 mL/min.

Learn more about the stages of CKD.


In stage 2 of CKD, the kidneys have mild damage but still function properly. The most common causes of this stage of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lifestyle changes and managing chronic conditions can help control stage 2 kidney disease and prevent it from progressing to later stages.

Talk with your doctor if you have chronic conditions that place you more at risk for developing CKD.

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Medical Reviewer: Chris Young, DNP, RN, NE-BC, NPD
Last Review Date: 2023 Mar 17
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