Chronic kidney disease is a general term for heterogeneous disorders affecting kidney structure and function. The 2002 guidelines for definition and classification of this disease represented an important shift towards its recognition as a worldwide public health problem that should be managed in its early stages by general internists. Disease and management are classified according to stages of disease severity, which are assessed from glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and albuminuria, and clinical diagnosis (cause and pathology). Chronic kidney disease can be detected with routine laboratory tests, and some treatments can prevent development and slow disease progression, reduce complications of decreased GFR and risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve survival and quality of life. In this Seminar we discuss disease burden, recommendations for assessment and management, and future challenges. We emphasise clinical practice guidelines, clinical trials, and areas of uncertainty.
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