A Basic Understanding of Kidney Function Test
Kidney Function Test is one of the most common types of Blood Test which evaluates whether the Kidneys are working efficiently or not. Also, it measures the level of urea, creatinine and certain dissolved salts in the body. Humans have two kidneys which are approximately the size of a human fist.
The kidney plays a major role in keeping us healthy. The kidneys filter the waste material from the blood and remove it from the body in the form of urine. Also, they assist in controlling the levels of water and other essential materials in our body. Additionally, the kidneys help in the production of Vitamin D, Red Blood Cells and hormones that regulate Blood Pressure.
If you are having any pain in your Kidney areas or have any Kidney Related Problems; you must go for a Kidney Function Test. This test helps in identifying the problems of the Kidney. Also, if you have any other medical conditions such as Diabetes and High Blood Pressure which can affect your Kidney adversely; your Doctor can recommend you to go for a Kidney Function Test so that they can monitor these conditions and assess its influence on the kidneys.
Symptoms of Kidney Problems:
• High Blood Pressure
• Blood in the Urine
• An urge to urinate frequently
• Difficulty while urinating or painful urination
• Swelling in the hands and feet
A single symptom out of the symptoms mentioned above may not mean something serious. But, if the symptom persists and occurs simultaneously, it might suggest that your kidneys are not functioning properly. In such a case, you must visit a doctor and go for a
Kidney Function Test.
Types of Kidney Function Test:
To test that your kidney is functioning properly or not, your doctor will suggest a set of tests which can estimate your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). Glomerular Filtration Rate detects the speed with which your kidneys clear waste from the body.
A urinalysis detects the presence of protein and blood in the urine. Protein is present in your urine for many reasons. However, if there is an infection; it will increase the amount of protein in the urine. Also, a heavy physical workout increases the presence of protein in the urine. There are many possible reasons for protein in your urine, not all of which are related to a disease. Many times, Doctor repeats this test after a few weeks so that they can check if the results are similar or not.
Doctors also might ask you to provide a 24-hour urine collection sample. It will help your Doctor to evaluate how quickly Creatinine, which is a waste product, is cleared from your body.
2. Serum Creatinine Test
Creatinine is a waste product in the body which is usually filtered by the kidneys from the blood. This test is done to see the level of Creatinine in the blood. If the Creatinine is outside the normal range; it might suggest that the patient has a kidney problem. This blood test detects if creatinine is building up in your blood or not. The function of kidneys is to filter creatinine from the blood. If your body has a high level of creatinine; it suggests that you have a kidney problem.
3. Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) measures the amount of waste products and nitrogen in the blood. The normal level of BUN Test is between 7 and 20. If the test values of the BUN Test are higher than the normal range; it might suggest that the patient has a certain health problem. However, it is not necessary that a high value of BUN test is due to kidney damage. There are certain kinds of medications, including aspirin which could also increase your BUN. Thus, before going for the test, you must tell your doctor if you are taking and medications.
4. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
The Glomerular Filtration Rate provides a more accurate measure of the kidney function. If the value of the GFR test is below the normal range, it suggests that there some kidney damage has occurred in the body.
The process of Obtaining the Tests:
Kidney function tests require a 24-hour urine sample, and a blood test is usually required for a Kidney Function Test.
A 24-hour Urine Sample is taken to see how much creatinine is expelled from your body over a single day. On the day when you start the test, you have to urinate into the toilet as you normally would when you wake up. For the rest of the day and night, you would have to urinate in a special container provided by your Doctor. When you get up the next morning, you would have to urinate into the container given by the Doctor, and this will complete the 24-hour collection process.
Treatment of Early Kidney Diseases:
If the results of the Kidney Function Test are outside the normal range, your doctor will start the treatment so that your Kidney can function properly. If the tests indicate that you have Hypertension; your Doctor will prescribe medications to lower the Blood Pressure and also would recommend a change in lifestyle.
There might be some other causes of Abnormal Kidney Function Test such as kidney stones and excessive use of pain killers; in such cases, your doctor will take appropriate measures to manage those disorders.
If your test results are abnormal, it means that you should go for regular Kidney Function Test in the months ahead. Going for Regular Health Checkup is very crucial as your Doctor will be able to monitor your health regularly.