Blood And Urine Tests
If your doctor thinks you might have chronic kidney failure, they will order blood and urine tests.
Blood tests for kidney function measure the levels of electrolytes and waste in your blood. They measure waste products such as creatinine and blood urea. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Blood urea is leftover when your body breaks down proteins. When your kidneys are working properly, they excrete both substances.
Urine tests will be performed to check for abnormalities. For example, protein is normally only present in trace amounts in your urine. An elevated protein level might indicate kidney problems months or even years before other symptoms appear. Your urine sediment and cells found in your urine will also be examined in a laboratory.
How To Have Healthy Kidneys
This article was co-authored by Claudia Carberry, RD, MS. Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010.There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 28,997 times.
Your kidneys regulate your body’s water/mineral balance and help filter wastes out of your blood so they can be flushed out of your body.XResearch source Even if you’re in great health, your kidneys naturally start to lose some of their function as you age. Some people also experience kidney stones, or other kidney diseases, often as a result of other health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure, or as a side effect of treatments for other medical problems.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source However, oftentimes kidney stones are preventable. Whether you have these underlying conditions or are in perfect health, you must take care of your kidneys now so that they will continue to function well in the future.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure damage the kidneys. In most cases, you dont realize that when blood pressure is high, it is destroying your kidneys. Thus, monitoring your numbers is essential, even if you dont have symptoms.
If you have blood pressure problems, follow the recommendations to reduce salt intake and inform your doctor if you dont reach your blood pressure goals.
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What Problems Can Happen To Your Kidneys
High blood pressure and diabetes can lead to kidney problems. These include kidney infections and chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease means that for some time your kidneys have not been working the way they should.
Some medicines can also lead to kidney damage.
Other kidney problems include kidney stones and kidney cancer.
What Are Good Gfr And Creatinine Numbers
GFR and creatinine are usually measured and reported together. GFR is the best measure of kidney function, but creatinine can also be a helpful indicator of your kidney health. It’s a bad sign if your GFR goes down or your creatinine goes up. In general, a “good” GFR number is above 60, and a “good” creatinine number is below 1.2.
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Your Skin Is Noticeably Dry And Itchy
Besides filtering waste materials and extra fluid from your blood, your kidneys also play an important role in maintaining the right balance of minerals in your blood and keeping your bones healthy.
Dry, itchy skin can be a side effect of the mineral and bone disease that often occurs with chronic kidney disease when your kidneys are no longer able to keep sodium, potassium, calcium, and other important minerals in your blood properly balanced.
Measuring How Your Kidneys Work
It is difficult to calculate the exact rate at which your kidneys work. The best measure of kidney function is called the glomerular filtration rate . The GFR can be estimated using a mathematical formula. This formula uses the level of creatinine in your blood to estimate how well your kidneys are filtering waste from your blood. It can indicate if there is any kidney damage.
The higher the filtration rate, the better the kidneys are working. A GFR of 100 mL/min/1.73 m2 is in the normal range. This is about equal to 100 per cent kidney function. Based on this measurement system, a GFR of 50 mL/min/1.73 m2 could be called 50 per cent kidney function and a GFR of 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 could be called 30 per cent kidney function.
If your doctor orders a blood test to learn more about your kidney function, an eGFR result is provided automatically, along with your creatinine results.
Your doctor may also test for other signs and conditions that may indicate you have chronic kidney disease. These may include tests for:
- protein in your urine
- blood in your urine
- high blood pressure
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Why Are The Kidneys Important
Your kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys also remove acid that is produced by the cells of your body and maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and mineralssuch as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassiumin your blood.
Without this balance, nerves, muscles, and other tissues in your body may not work normally.
Your kidneys also make hormones that help
Regular Reviews And Monitoring
You’ll have regular contact with your care team to monitor your condition.
These appointments may involve:
- talking about your symptoms such as whether they’re affecting your normal activities or are getting worse
- a discussion about your medicine including whether you are experiencing any side effects
- tests to monitor your kidney function and general health
It’s also a good opportunity to ask any questions you have or raise any other issues you’d like to discuss with your care team.
You may also want to help monitor your condition at home for example, by using a home blood pressure monitor.
Contact your GP or healthcare team if your symptoms are getting worse or you develop new symptoms.
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How To Know If Your Kidneys Are Healthy
Acute kidney failure can sometimes cause complications. These include:
- Fluid buildup. Acute kidney failure can sometimes cause a buildup of fluid in your body. If fluid builds up in your lungs, this can cause shortness of breath.
- Chest pain. If the lining that covers your heart becomes inflamed, you may have chest pain.
- Acidic blood . If your blood has too much acid due to acute kidney failure, you can end up with nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and breathlessness.
- Muscle weakness. When your bodys fluids and electrolytes are out of balance, you can get muscle weakness. In serious cases, this can lead to paralysis and heart rhythm problems.
- Permanent kidney damage. Acute kidney failure can become chronic and your kidneys will stop working almost entirely or completely. This is called end-stage renal disease. If this happens, you will need to go on permanent dialysis or get a kidney transplant.
- Death. Acute kidney failure can lead to loss of kidney function that is so bad, it can cause death.
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Kidney Pain And Alcohol Abuse
Although the kidneys do not directly filter alcohol, problems associated with the kidneys may be related to the alcohol abuse. Alcohol can affect certain renal hormones such as anti-diuretic hormone and result in dehydration.
Alcohol may also raises the risk of atherosclerosis and cause clot formation in the kidneys.
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Type And Severity Of Pain
Muscle pain feels like a dull ache or soreness. Certain body movements can trigger or worsen muscle pain, the intensity of which can range from mild to severe and may fluctuate in response to stretching.
People with nerve pain may experience a burning or stabbing sensation that travels to other areas of the body.
Sciatica is a form of nerve pain that affects the back. People develop sciatica when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed, which causes a burning pain in the lower back that radiates through the buttocks.
Bone pain can result from vertebral fractures or an irregularly shaped spine. This type of pain comes on suddenly. Bone pain ranges from moderate to severe and usually worsens in response to movement.
Foods That Will Keep Your Bladder Healthy
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The human urinary system has a dirty but very necessary job, which is to effectively remove liquid waste from the bloodstream while also maintaining a normal salt level in the body. Most people will go through their entire lives without encountering any significant urinary system issues, though even healthy individuals can occasionally experience a urinary tract infection, which typically results from bacteria gathering in sensitive areas, such as the bladder and urethra.
To avoid getting a urinary tract infection, which can make urinating painful, difficult, and generally uncomfortable, there are a number of foods and beverages that can help. Even better: most of these food and drink items are available at any old grocery store, farmers market or pharmacy.
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How To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
Your kidneys work hard for you, day in and day out. To take good care of them, youâll want to focus on these things that make a big difference.
Watch your blood pressure. If itâs too high, that can put stress on your kidneys. If youâre not sure what your blood pressure is, your doctor can check it. You could have high blood pressure and not know it, since it doesnât have any symptoms. High blood pressure is one of the top causes of kidney problems.
Got diabetes? If you do, work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar levels in check. If theyâre not under control, that can cause problems for your kidneys over time. Along with hypertension , diabetes is one of the biggest concerns for kidney health.
Use your meds correctly. Take them as your doctor recommends, or follow the instructions on the package. Be wary of medicines that can cause kidney damage when you take them for a long time, including over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and prescriptions such as lithium and HIV medications.
Yes to food and fitness. You already know that exercise and eating right help your heart and weight. They also help your blood pressure and your blood sugar levels. And thatâs good for your kidneys.
Shake the salt habit. Keep sodium low: no more than 2,300 milligrams a day. Check food labels to see how much is in a serving. It might be more than you think!
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: âWhat Is a Standard Drink?â
Feelings Of Stress Or Depression
âIts common for people who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, patients on dialysis, and those who have received kidney transplants to feel sad and depressed. In fact, studies show that 20% to 40% of people with kidney failure may also have depression. While the risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 remains low in the general population, people who have a chronic illness or who are taking immunosuppressant drugs are at an increased risk of becoming very ill. These fears are real and the worry and stress can lead to an even greater bout of depression. If you are feeling more depressed than usual, The Centers for Disease Control has some great tips for helping you to manage your stress and anxiety.
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How Can I Keep My Kidneys Healthy
Its important to have regular checkups and blood and urine tests to measure your kidneys health. You can reduce your risk of developing a kidney problem by:
- Avoiding or quitting smoking and using tobacco products. Your provider can help you find ways to quit.
- Cutting out excess salt, which can affect the balance of minerals in your blood.
- Increasing daily exercise, which can reduce high blood pressure.
- Limiting your use of NSAIDs. NSAIDs can cause kidney damage if you take them too much.
Let us talk about the kidney location in the body. As a qualified medical doctor, and based of my knowledge of the human anatomy, I am aware that the kidneys are located in the posterior abdominal wall. By the way, let me clarify that the human abdomen extends from beneath your sternum to just above your pelvis.
Your kidneys are located just below the rib cage, beneath your liver in the back of your abdomen.
For the purpose of deeper understanding, the abdomen can further be divided into the front and back wallsotherwise called the anterior and posterior abdominal walls respectively.
Sometimes, if you have an underlying kidney diseases which cause pain and inflammation, you may begin to experience low back or flank pain. Flank pain could be a symptom of a urinary tract or kidney infection as the case may be. While you experience flank pain during a Urinary Tract Infection, doctors will elicit renal angle tenderness.
How Much Do My Kidneys Weigh
The weight of your kidneys varies. Variances may include your height, weight, age, body mass index and location.
For men and people assigned male at birth, your right kidney may range from 1/5 to about 1/2 lbs. . Your left kidney may range from a little less than 1/5 to a little more than 1/2 lbs. . Your kidneys may weigh between the weight of one tennis ball and four tennis balls.
For women and people assigned female at birth, your right kidney may range from a little more than 1/10 to 3/5 lbs. . Your left kidney may range from 3/20 to a little less than 3/5 lbs. . Your kidneys may weigh between the weight of one tennis ball or five tennis balls.
When It Could Be Kidney Pain And What To Do
Kidney pain can be caused by an underlying issue such as a urinary tract infection or UTI. If you feel a sting when urinating, need to urinate more often, have cloudy urine or if you have pain in the groin area, these should be treated promptly. A quick urinalysis can tell us if you have a UTI and it can be treated easily with antibiotics. An untreated UTI can spread to the kidneys and cause more serious complications. You may develop a fever, tiredness and more significant pain which may signal a kidney infection as well.
If you see blood in your urine and there is no reason to suspect this to be normal such as after a prostate procedure you should visit your urologist as soon as possible to learn more about what the potential issue could be. While most cases of urine in the blood are easily treatable, we do have to rule out more nefarious causes. Remember, blood in the urine is not always visible, so be sure to have your annual physical/checkup, which should include a urinalysis.
What Happens If I Can No Longer Work
If you have to stop work or work part-time because of CKD, you may find it hard to cope financially.
You may be entitled to one or more of the following types of financial support:
- if you have a job but cannot work because of your illness, you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from your employer for up to 28 weeks
- if you don’t have a job and cannot work because of your illness, you may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance
- if you’re aged 65 or over, you may be able to get Attendance Allowance
- if you’re caring for someone with CKD, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance
- you may be eligible for other benefits if you have children living at home or a low household income
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Who Might Need A Kidney Transplant
A kidney transplant may be an option if your kidneys have stopped working entirely. This condition is called end-stage renal disease or end-stage kidney disease . If you reach this point, your doctor is likely to recommend dialysis.
In addition to putting you on dialysis, your doctor will tell you if they think youre a good candidate for a kidney transplant.
Youll need to be healthy enough to have major surgery and tolerate a strict, lifelong medication regimen after surgery to be a good candidate for a transplant. You must also be willing and able to follow all instructions from your doctor and take your medications regularly.
If you have a serious underlying medical condition, a kidney transplant might be dangerous or unlikely to be successful. These serious conditions include:
- cancer, or a recent history of cancer
Your doctor may also recommend that you dont have a transplant if you:
- drink alcohol in excess
- use illicit drugs
If your doctor thinks youre a good candidate for a transplant and youre interested in the procedure, youll need to be evaluated at a transplant center.
This evaluation usually involves several visits to assess your physical, psychological, and familial condition. The centers doctors will run tests on your blood and urine. Theyll also give you a complete physical exam to ensure youre healthy enough for surgery.
Kidney donors may be either living or deceased.
Low Intake Of Phosphorus
Experts and doctors say that increasing the phosphorus level in the body increases the risk of chronic kidney disease. Therefore, completely reduce the intake of phosphorus-rich things in your diet such as soft drinks, chocolate, processed meat, etc.
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