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About Kidney Function Test

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located towards the bottom of the ribcage, to the right and left of the spine. They are a part of the urinary system and serve several key tasks and functions in the body. Kidneys have a "waste management" role in the body, and kidney illness is commonly referred to as a "silent disease" since many people lose a significant percentage of renal function before getting ill. kidney injury can be both Acute or chronic.

Renal function tests (RFT) are a group of tests that are used to assess kidney (renal) function. When the kidneys fail to function properly, waste materials accumulate in the blood and fluid levels increase to dangerous levels, causing injury to the body or a potentially fatal disease. The most common causes and risk factors for renal disease are diabetes and hypertension.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Kidney disease occurs when your kidneys cease working properly. There is no single type of kidney illness; rather, several conditions can cause a decline in kidney function:
  • Any condition affecting the blood vessels, such as diabetes, hypertension, and arterial hardening.
  • Kidney infection or infection in another region of the body
  • A kidney stone can obstruct the tubes that link the kidneys to the bladder, causing infection or injury.
  • Some autoimmune diseases can harm the kidneys.

A kidney function panel is a collection of tests used to evaluate kidney (renal) function, which includes:

  1. Creatinine
  2. Creatinine eGFR
  3. Urea
  4. Uric acid
  5. Electrolytes
    • Sodium
    • Potassium
    • Chloride

The kidney function test, or screening, requires a simple blood draw from the vein of your arm. Be sure to ask your doctor how to prepare for the test.

A kidney function panel can be used to assess kidney function, assist in the diagnosis of kidney-related illnesses, screen those who are at risk of developing renal disease, or monitor someone who has been diagnosed with kidney disease.

An estimated GFR (eGFR) number is calculated using a mathematical formula that considers a person's age, gender, race, and blood creatinine level. The eGFR number is also given together with the creatinine level in the panel of labs. The National Kidney Foundation divides chronic kidney disease into phases depending on the eGFR value:

  • GFR of 120 mL/min indicates normal kidney function.
  • Stage 1 chronic kidney disease: eGFR > 90 mL/min
  • Stage 2 chronic kidney disease: eGFR 60-90 mL/min
  • Stage 3 chronic kidney disease: eGFR 30-59 mL/min
  • Stage 4 chronic kidney disease: eGFR 15-29 mL/min
  • Stage 5 chronic kidney disease: eGFR < 15 mL/min

When the GFR falls below 15 mL/min, people might become unwell with uremic poisoning due to a buildup of harmful toxins in the body. Dialysis is required for patients with this condition because their own kidneys can no longer sufficiently remove the renal toxins from their blood. The change of blood creatinine and eGFR is frequently attributable to a person's fluid status, which reveals how hydrated a patient was at the time the blood sample was obtained.

There is no one solution because each patient’s situation is unique; nevertheless, below is a few key common considerations:

  • Control diabetes
  • Manage high blood pressure
  • Avoid medications that might harm the kidneys (x-ray, dye, anti-inflammatory drugs)

Patients with chronic renal illness are also more likely to develop heart disease than those who do not. As a result, patients should also:

  • Maintain appropriate cholesterol levels
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain optimal body weight

To check for increased creatinine levels, your doctor will do a blood test called serum creatinine. Elevated amounts indicate that your kidneys aren't working properly. Because you may not have any evident symptoms of kidney illness, this test allows your doctor to regularly evaluate your kidney function.

Your doctor will calculate your glomerular filtration rate by combining creatinine levels with other factors like your age (GFR). This rate indicates if kidney function is normal or abnormal. Creatinine and GFR levels might change over time depending on fluid levels.

Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, involves a gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then removed in your urine. Advanced chronic kidney disease can cause dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes to build up in your body.

Doctors use the phrase "kidney disease" to describe any abnormalities of the kidneys, even if the harm is minor. The term "chronic" refers to a condition that does not improve fully. Some individuals believe that the term "chronic" denotes "severe." This is not always the case, because CKD is typically merely a minor anomaly in the kidneys.

Be your own best friend! To decrease the course of CKD, it should be addressed as soon as possible. While frequent kidney function testing is helpful for everyone, being checked once a year is especially crucial if you are:

  • At an increased risk of developing kidney disease
  • Those who have diabetes, ureter obstructions, obesity, lupus, or high blood pressure should be aware that they are at a higher risk of renal disease. Your age, weight, family history, overall health, and even ethnicity may all put you at risk for CKD. If you have any of these risk factors, discuss with your doctor and get yourself at least once a year.

There is no need for preparation, and you may get this blood test at any time of day.

A low eGFR indicates that the kidneys are not working properly. This might be the result of acute or chronic renal disease, common causes are :

  • Diabetes mellitus (type 1 or type 2)
  • High blood pressure
  • Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)
  • Urinary tract blockage such as from a kidney stone is some of the reasons for decreased kidney function.
  • Decreased blood flow to your kidneys as a result of shock, dehydration, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis, etc
  • Certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, lithium, some Chinese herbs, or certain poisons
  • Polycystic nephropathy
  • Lupus glomerulonephritis

Diabetes is one the leading causes of kidney failure. Diabetes can influence blood circulation within the glomerulus, which is part of the kidney's blood-filtering mechanism. Diabetes patients may also have the following risk factors:

  • Hypertension
  • Poor glucose management
  • A family history of renal disease

Diabetes type 1

  • Changes in renal function may occur 2–5 years following diabetes diagnosis.
  • 30–40% of persons with type 1 diabetes have late-stage renal damage within 10–30 years after being diagnosed.

Diabetes type 2

  • Kidney damage in type 2 diabetes follows a similar trajectory to type 1 diabetes; however, type 2 diabetes often develops later in life.

When the blood arteries in the kidneys are damaged, the kidneys lose their capacity to eliminate waste and excess fluid from the body. Extra fluid elevates blood pressure even higher, resulting in a vicious cycle that can lead to renal failure.
It is advised that you keep your blood pressure under 140/90. Here are some methods for keeping your blood pressure under control:

  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise
  • Reduce stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Consult your doctor about medicine

The Glomerular filtration Rate is a measurement of how efficiently your kidneys clear your blood. Just as your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are significant in determining your risk for heart disease, so is your GFR in determining your risk for CKD.

Your GFR cannot be measured precisely. Instead, our GFR calculator will provide you with an estimate based on a mathematical model that best predicts your kidney function based on specific personal criteria and your serum creatinine—the quantity of creatinine in your blood.

Your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is a computation based on the results of a creatinine serum test and other characteristics such as age, gender, muscle mass, and ethnicity that shows your degree of kidney function. If your eGFR is less than 90, your kidneys may be underperforming, and you may be at risk for renal disease.

The findings of a kidney function panel test are not diagnostic; rather, they suggest that there may be a problem with the kidneys and that more testing is needed to make a diagnosis and discover the reason. Individual test results may be aberrant owing to factors other than renal disease, but when combined with risks and/or signs and symptoms, they may indicate the presence of kidney disease. The table below summarizes what the results may signify in terms of kidney:

Test Association with kidney disease/dysfunction
Electrolytes: Sodium Potassium Chloride Renal disease can alter electrolyte concentrations in the blood in a number of ways, depending on the etiology, with certain levels decreasing and others rising. An electrolyte imbalance can occur as a result of renal failure or disease in general. The fluid balance and/or pH of the blood are disturbed when these positively and negatively charged ions are out of balance. When renal failure worsens, complications such as metabolic acidosis may ensue.
Urea High values suggest reduced kidney function caused by acute or chronic renal illness, injury, or failure, or by another condition causing decreased blood flow to the kidneys, such as CHF or dehydration, or causing blockage of urine flow, such as prostate disease or kidney stones.
Creatinine High blood concentrations suggests impaired kidney function due to conditions listed above for urea.
Uric acid Hyperuricemia occurs when there is an excess of uric acid in the body. Hyperuricemia can result in the formation of uric acid (or urate) crystals. These crystals can accumulate in the joints and produce gout, a severe type of arthritis. They can potentially create kidney stones if they settle in the kidneys.
eGFR Calculated from the blood creatinine test result; an eGFR below 60 mL/min suggests that some kidney damage has occurred; an eGFR < 15 indicates kidney failure.

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