Who Has A Blood Test Of Kidney Function
Routine kidney function is one of the most commonly performed blood tests. It may be done:
- As part of a general health assessment.
- If you have suspected low body water content , when the urea level increases.
- If you have suspected kidney failure. The higher the blood levels of urea and creatinine, the less well the kidneys are working. The level of creatinine is usually used as a marker as to the severity of kidney failure. Creatinine in itself is not harmful but a high level indicates that the kidneys are not working properly. So, many other waste products will not be cleared out of the bloodstream. You normally need treatment with dialysis if the level of creatinine goes higher than a certain value.
- Before and after starting treatment with certain medicines. Some medicines occasionally cause kidney damage as a side-effect. Therefore, kidney function is often checked before and after starting treatment with certain medicines.
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Four Key Concepts And Talking Points
1. Talk to patients about their kidneys, CKD, and their risk.
What is CKD? CKD means the kidneys are damaged and may no longer filter blood well. This damage happens over many years. As more damage occurs, the kidneys are unable to keep the body healthy – then dialysis or a kidney transplant may be needed to maintain health.
How can I lower my risk for CKD? The steps you take to manage your diabetes and high blood pressure also help protect your kidneys. Choosing healthy foods, quitting smoking, and being more physically active are all important steps.
2. Communicate the importance of testing and how CKD is diagnosed.
What are the symptoms of CKD? Most people with CKD have no symptoms until their kidneys are about to fail. The only way to know if you have kidney disease is to get tested. The sooner kidney disease is found, the sooner you can take steps to begin treatment and keep your kidneys healthier longer.
How do you check for CKD? A blood test and a urine test are used to find kidney disease. Because you are at risk, you should get these tests regularly:
- GFR – A blood test measures how much blood your kidneys filter each minute, which is known as your glomerular filtration rate .
- Urine Albumin – A urine test checks for albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein that can pass into the urine when the filters in the kidneys are damaged.
3. Explain the progressive nature of CKD and the basics of treatment.
4. Begin to speak about dialysis and transplantation.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Potassium
Many people do not feel symptoms of high potassium. Having too much potassium in your blood can be dangerous. It can even cause a heart attack.
If you do feel symptoms, some of the most common are:
- Feeling tired or weak
- Feeling sick to the stomach
- Muscle pains or cramps
- Trouble breathing, unusual heartbeat, chest pains
If you have trouble breathing or think there could be a problem with your heart, call 911 for emergency help.
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What Are High And Low Creatinine Levels
A high creatinine level is typically anything over 1.3 .
Certain conditions may cause a person to have higher than normal levels of creatinine.
- People with only one kidney may have a normal creatinine level of about 1.8 or 1.9.
- Creatinine levels of 2.0 or more in infants and 5.0 or more in adults may indicate severe kidney damage.
- People who are dehydrated may have elevated creatinine levels.
Low creatinine levels are often seen in patients with low muscle mass and are not usually considered a serious medical problem.
- Limit alcohol intake.
If creatinine levels are elevated from dehydration, rehydration is needed either via oral fluids or intravenously.
Medications that cause high creatinine levels may need to be changed or stopped. Talk to your doctor before altering or stopping any medications.
Other than for trying to increase muscle mass in general, low creatinine levels usually do not require treatment.
What Causes Elevated Creatinine Levels
Creatinine is a waste metabolite produced by muscles after they have finished contracting. It is introduced into the blood and excreted into the urine by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels generally indicate a decline in kidney function. Impaired kidney function can happen gradually without a person being aware of it. A routine blood test showing an increased level of creatinine is often the first indication of kidney disease.
The kidneys filter large volumes of blood to remove extra water and waste products. A common waste product removed by the kidneys is creatinine, which is produced from the breakdown of creatine phosphate in muscles. Generally, healthy people will have a constant level of creatinine over time. Men typically have a higher concentration than women, because they have more muscle tissue. Vegetarians and the elderly frequently have lower levels of this compound.
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What Happens During The Creatinine Clearance Test
You will do the creatinine clearance test over 24 hours. During this time, you will collect your urine each time you urinate. This will give your healthcare provider a good idea of your creatinine levels throughout the entire day.
Make sure to follow the directions from your healthcare provider closely. These instructions will include details about how to store your urine sample and where you will take it when the test is over.
After 24 hours of collecting your urine, you will need to have your blood drawn. This second part of the test looks at the amount of creatinine in your bloodstream. This is called serum creatinine. Your results from both of these tests will be plugged into a mathematic formula that determines your creatinine clearance. This rate tells your provider just how well your kidneys are filtering waste products out of your bloodstream.
High Creatinine Level: Causes And Symptoms
The chemical waste created by the metabolic activities of body muscles is known as creatine. Creatine is a significant chemical molecule that helps in the production of energy for the muscles. It is the main source of creatinine in our body. About 2% of the body’s creatine is converted into creatinine every day and is transported to the kidneys for disposal. The kidneys function to eliminate most of the creatinine via urine.
Normal levels of creatinine in the blood are 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter in adult males and 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL in adult females. You can find the level of creatinine in the blood high at times.
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Can I Prevent Elevated Red Blood Cells
You cant always prevent a high red blood cell count. But, there are things you can do to lower your risk. For example:
- Drink lots of water.
- Dont take iron supplements.
- Dont take anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
- Use appropriate medical devices, such as a CPAP, if you have sleep apnea.
- If you have heart failure, be sure to follow your healthcare providers treatment plan diligently.
Top 5 Most Important Kidney Health Numbers
If you’ve gone for your annual physical recently, you’re staring at a report that may as well have been written in a foreign language. Which numbers are especially important in predicting kidney health and what’s in the normal range?
- Estimated GFR – Measures kidney function, over 60 is normal, under 60, talk to your doctor. GFR, or glomerular filtration rate, tells you how well your kidneys are doing their job of filtering the blood.
- Albumin to Creatinine Ratio – Estimates the amount of protein found in your urine in a day. Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. Less than 30 is normal, over 30, talk to your doctor.
- Blood Glucose – Checks for diabetes, the leading cause of kidney failure. While fasting: over 125 and after eating: over 200 indicates diabetes.
- Blood Pressure– High blood pressure leads to kidney disease. If the upper number is over 140 and the lower number is above 90, your blood pressure is too high. The target may be lower depending on the amount of albumin in your urine and if you have diabetes. Ask your healthcare professional what blood pressure level is right for you.
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Kidney Disease And Cardiovascular Risks
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in people with chronic kidney disease. Compared to the general population, people with chronic kidney disease are two to three times more likely to have cardiovascular problems such as:
This increased risk is partly caused by factors common to both chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure. However, researchers are discovering that chronic kidney disease is, in itself, an important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, and a history of cardiovascular disease is a risk factor for the development of chronic kidney disease.
The kidneys regulate water and salts, remove certain wastes and make various hormones. Kidney disease increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in many ways, including:
What Your Bun Levels Mean
BUN levels represent the balance between :
- Urea production
- Urea breakdown, and
- Urea elimination
Therefore, BUN is an indicator of kidney health and/or liver health.
However, creatinine is a much more reliable marker of kidney function. BUN is far more likely to be affected by dietary and physiologic conditions unrelated to kidney function .
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Why The Test Is Performed
Creatinine is a chemical waste product of creatine. Creatine is a chemical made by the body and is used to supply energy mainly to muscles.
This test is done to see how well your kidneys work. Creatinine is removed from the body entirely by the kidneys. If kidney function is not normal, the creatinine level in your blood will increase. This is because less creatinine is excreted through your urine.
Will I Feel Any Pain During The Creatinine Clearance Test
The creatinine clearance test is generally painless. The first part of the test involves normal urination over a 24-hour period of time. You might experience some discomfort from the needle when you have your blood drawn. This is a necessary part of the test and happens quickly. Some people describe having their blood drawn as a stinging feeling. Its possible to feel some throbbing or have a slight bruise after having your blood drawn. However, all of this discomfort goes away quickly.
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What Are The Tests For High Potassium
The only way to know for sure if your potassium level is healthy is to have a blood test. The test measures how much potassium is in your blood.
The blood test is like many other blood tests that you may be familiar with. A small needle is placed into a vein on your arm and your blood is drawn out into a tube. The blood is sent to lab to be tested.
Potassium may be called something else in your test results. If you do not see “potassium,” look for either:
- Serum potassium
A potassium of higher than 5.2 millimoles per liter is usually considered high but your doctor or lab might use slightly different numbers. Talk to your doctor about what your test results mean.
Because very high potassium can be dangerous, your doctor or nurse may contact you first if your results are unusually high. In this case, they may ask you to go to an emergency room or hospital.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Creatinine Levels
Like proteinuria, a high creatine level is more an indication of a potential health problem, rather than a problem itself. If your creatine level increase is caused by a kidney issues, you may experience related symptoms. Kidney conditions often cause bladder and fluid retention issues.If your kidneys arent working well enough to remove toxins and waste from your body, you could notice a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Changes in urination frequency and appearance
- High blood pressure
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Is High Platelet Count Always Serious
Many times, a high platelet count doesnt cause any symptoms. It may just be found through routine blood work.
Although the cause for the high levels should be investigated, it is not always due to something dangerous or serious. For example, platelets can become elevated in response to medications, an infection, low iron levels, or exercising.
Should I Worry If My Red Blood Cell Count Is High
Not necessarily. While a high red blood cell count can indicate a disease or disorder, it doesnt always mean you have a health condition. Other factors like living at a high altitude can also have an impact on your red blood cell count.
But, if you have a high red blood cell count, its always a good idea to have additional testing done. This way, your healthcare provider can find the cause and determine if treatment is necessary.
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What Do Healthcare Providers Look For
When evaluating the cause of elevated platelets, healthcare providers may look for symptoms like bruising, bleeding, and signs of infection or another underlying condition.
It is likely that blood tests or imaging will be done. These tests may include:
- Iron panel to show how much iron is present
- Complete blood count, which is a full blood panel that includes white blood cell and red blood cell count
- C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate blood tests to see if inflammation is present, which would indicate if the body is trying to heal from an infection or injury
- Blood testing to check for specific gene mutations
- Bone marrow biopsy, which removes a sample of bone marrow for evaluation
- Mammogram, an imaging test that checks for breast cancer
- Upper endoscopy, which is a procedure that inserts a small tube with a camera into the mouth and down to the stomach, to check for cancer in the upper digestive tract
- Colonoscopy, which is a procedure that uses a small tube with a camera that is inserted into the rectum to check for gastrointestinal cancer in the large intestine
What Is Creatinine And Creatinine Clearance
Creatinine is a waste product that your body constantly makes during normal muscle breakdown. Your kidneys filter creatinine from the blood into the urine and reabsorb almost none of it.
The amount of blood the kidneys can make creatinine-free each minute is called the creatinine clearance. Creatinine clearance in a healthy young person is about 95 milliliters per minute for women and 120 mL per minute for men. This means each minute, that person’s kidneys clear 95 to 120 mL of blood free of creatinine. The GFR can vary depending on age, sex, and size. Generally, the creatinine clearance is a good estimation of the glomerular filtration rate.
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Do I Need To Fast Before The Creatinine Clearance Test
In general, you can eat normally before and during the creatinine clearance test. However, you may be asked not to eat overnight. Your provider may also ask you not to eat meat before the test. This could change the results because theres higher levels of creatine in meat, which would cause your body to have higher levels of creatinine during the test.
What Are The Complications Associated With Gn
GN can lead to nephrotic syndrome, which causes you to lose large amounts of protein in your urine. This leads to a lot of fluid and salt retention in your body. You can develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and swelling throughout your body. Corticosteroids treat this condition. Eventually, nephrotic syndrome will lead to end-stage renal disease if it doesnt come under control.
The following conditions can also occur due to GN:
- acute kidney failure
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How Some Conditions Affect The Functioning Of Your Kidneys
There are several conditions that are likely to affect the ability of your kidneys to function properly. Some of these can lead to a fast decline in kidney function while others are a slow and gradual decline. They both, however can result in the build-up of the toxic waste in your blood. The renal function labs that your doctor can give you will help to determine the levels of thesesubstances that are present that your kidneys normally regulate. This will help to find out the cause and extent of your kidney dysfunction.
Your doctor will use your kidney function numbers in various ways. When theyve made the diagnosis that there is kidney disease and what kind of disease is causing the problem, they might recommend to you a specific treatment. Even though there isnt any drug therapy that will specifically prevent your kidney disease from progressing, your doctor can make other recommendations for treatments which will slow the disease as much as possible. One thing your doctor can do is to prescribe medication for blood pressure, or diabetes treatments. If your kidney disease is getting worse, your doctor can talk to you about hemodialysis, or the cleansing of your blood by taking out the excess minerals, fluids and wastes. Your doctor may even speak with you about a kidney transplant surgery.