Become Your Own Expert
Many kidney patients choose to take an active role in their care and treatment. You can too by logging on to the PatientView website, where you may be able to keep track of all your medications, test results, scans and medical letters. You may also be able to see your medical history and get information about a wide range of tests .
You need to be referred to Patient View by your kidney unit so make sure you ask them to do this.
- For more ways to take control of your kidney disease visit our How can I help myself? section.
And for further information about kidney tests visit:
Are All Renal Panel Tests The Same
It is common for there to be some variation in the individual components of a renal panel based on the specific laboratory that performs your test. However, some test elements, such as the electrolytes, glucose, calcium, phosphorus, and albumin are found on the most common renal panel tests offered by major laboratories.
In addition, your doctor can request that other specific measurements be included with your renal panel. You will see a line item for each component when you review your test report, and your doctor can explain the significance of each component and the results in the context of your health situation.
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Other Tests Of Kidney Function
The routine kidney blood test is a general marker of kidney function. If the blood test is abnormal it cannot say what is causing the kidney problem. Therefore, if you have an abnormal result you may need further tests to find the cause of a kidney problem. For example: urine tests, other blood tests, scans, X-rays, kidney biopsy, etc.
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What Is A Kidney Function Blood Test
The kidney function blood test measures the level of creatinine, urea and certain dissolved salts.
- Creatinine is a waste product in your body that is made by your muscles. It passes into your bloodstream, and is usually passed out in urine . A high blood level of creatinine indicates that your kidneys may not be working properly.
- Urea is produced when protein is broken down by your body. Healthy kidneys eliminate more than 90% of the urea your body produces. A high blood level of urea may indicate that you are dehydrated or that your kidneys may not be working properly.
- Dissolved salts that are routinely measured are sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate. They are sometimes referred to as ‘electrolytes’. Abnormal blood levels of any of these may sometimes be due to a kidney problem.
- eGFR stands for estimated glomerular filtration rate. Although the level of creatinine in your blood is a useful guide to kidney function, the eGFR is a more accurate measure of how well your kidneys are filtering your blood. Using your blood creatinine, and your age and sex, your eGFR can be calculated by computer and reported with the creatinine blood test.
When Is A Kidney Function Test Done
A kidney function test may be requested as a routine blood test to find out about your general health. It is also requested for a variety of other more specific situations, eg:
- to assess if you have any sign of acute or chronic kidney disease
- to assess for dehydration
- to check how your kidneys are functioning before and after starting certain medicines.
Chronic kidney disease is common as you get older. It has no warning signs until too late. Therefore a kidney function test at various stages can be helpful to find problems sooner. Read more about chronic kidney disease.
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Can I Take The Test At Home
Very few options exist for a complete renal panel test that can be taken with an at-home test kit. Some at-home kidney tests involve taking a fingerstick blood sample at home and sending it to a lab for analysis, but these tests do not include all of the same measurements that are included in a typical renal panel test.
What Does Elevated Kidney Function Mean
Blood and urine tests may show if the kidneys are leaking abnormal amounts of protein waste this possibly indicates failing kidney function, according to WebMD. Tests can be performed to check creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels, which are strong indicators of kidney function.
Creatinine is a waste product made during the breakdown of food proteins, explains MedicineNet. It is produced from creatine, a molecule used for energy in building muscle. Normal levels of creatinine vary in individuals based on age and muscle development. Those with strong muscle development have more creatinine in the blood than people who suffer from malnutrition or chronic illness.
Common causes of elevated creatinine in the blood can often be attributed to diet and nutrition, medications or kidney infection. It is possible to treat and reverse elevated levels and to have high levels of creatinine without any symptoms of kidney disease. Possible symptoms of kidney failure often include fatigue, edema or swelling, dehydration and confusion, notes MedicineNet.
Blood urea nitrogen testing indicates how much nitrogen is in the blood and how well urea is being passed through the urine, states WebMD. Comparing blood urea nitrogen levels with creatinine levels may be a more precise indication of malfunctioning kidneys. Abnormal levels are also a common sign of dehydration, heart failure, prostate cancer and bacteremia in infants.
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What Do Your Kidneys Do
Your kidneys are part of your urinary system. The two kidneys sit in the back of your abdomen just below your ribcage. They help your body filter waste materials and expel them as urine. Your kidneys are also vital for producing:
- Hormones that maintain blood pressure.
- Red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.
- Vitamin D, which maintains bone and muscle health.
Who Needs A Kidney Test
The chances of developing kidney disease increase as you get older. If you’re male and if you’re black or south Asian you’re also more likely to develop kidney disease.
Visit your GP for a kidney test if you have:
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My Recent Blood Tests Showed Slightly Low Kidney Function What Does This Mean
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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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What Do My Creatinine Blood Test Results Mean
Creatinine is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood . People who are more muscular tend to have higher creatinine levels. Results may also vary depending on age and gender.
In general, however, normal creatinine levels range from 0.9 to 1.3 mg/dL in men and 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL in women who are 18 to 60 years old. Normal levels are roughly the same for people over 60.
High serum creatinine levels in the blood indicate that the kidneys arent functioning properly.
Your serum creatinine levels may be slightly elevated or higher than normal due to:
- kidney problems, such as kidney damage or infection
- reduced blood flow to the kidneys due to shock, congestive heart failure, or complications of diabetes
If your creatinine is truly elevated and its from an acute or chronic kidney injury, the level wont decrease until the problem is resolved. If it was temporarily or falsely elevated due to dehydration, a very high-protein diet, or supplement usage, then reversal of those conditions will lower the level. Also, a person receiving dialysis will have lower levels after a treatment.
Its uncommon to have low levels of creatinine, but this can occur as a result of certain conditions that cause decreased muscle mass. Theyre usually not any cause for concern.
How Is The Test Done
Usually, your doctor will ask you not to eat excessive amounts of meat or other protein for 24 hours before a kidney blood test. During the test, your doctor will extract blood from your veins into a tube, which will then be sent off for testing at a laboratory. Test results are usually available within a few days, or even on the same day if youre having the test in a hospital.
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Why Creatinine Tests Are Done
Doctors use creatinine and creatinine clearance tests to check how well your kidneys work. This is called renal function. Testing the rate of creatinine clearance shows the kidneys ability to filter the blood. As renal function gets worse, creatinine clearance also goes down. Your doctor may also order a creatinine test if you have symptoms of kidney disease, including:
Changes in how much you pee
Swollen feet and ankles
Test Results And Stages Of Ckd
Your test results can be used to determine how damaged your kidneys are, known as the stage of CKD.
This can help your doctor decide the best treatment for you and how often you should have tests to monitor your condition.
Your eGFR results is given as a stage from 1 of 5:
- stage 1 a normal eGFR above 90ml/min, but other tests have detected signs of kidney damage
- stage 2 a slightly reduced eGFR of 60 to 89ml/min, with other signs of kidney damage
- stage 3a an eGFR of 45 to 59ml/min
- stage 3b an eGFR of 30 to 44ml/min
- stage 4 an eGFR of 15 to 29ml/min
- stage 5 an eGFR below 15ml/min, meaning the kidneys have lost almost all of their function
Your ACR result is given as a stage from 1 to 3:
- A1 an ACR of less than 3mg/mmol
- A2 an ACR of 3 to 30mg/mmol
- A3 an ACR of more than 30mg/mmol
For both eGFR and ACR, a higher stage indicates more severe kidney disease.
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Getting Your Kidneys Tested
Kidney disease usually has no symptoms until its at a serious stage.”You can have quite serious kidney disease and feel absolutely fine,” says Timothy Statham, chief executive of the National Kidney Federation . “You often dont know you have kidney damage until your kidneys have deteriorated to working at just 15% of their normal function.”Although early kidney disease displays no symptoms, its easy for doctors to detect it. A routine blood test can check whether your kidneys are working properly. If the blood test is abnormal, a follow-up urine test can help to show why your kidneys arent working properly.
Experts suspect that up to two-thirds of people with kidney disease are unaware that they have this common condition. A quick, simple test is available from your GP.
How Is A Renal Panel Test Different From A Creatinine Clearance Test
A creatinine clearance test includes both a blood and urine sample. The amount of creatinine is measured in each sample, and then the two figures are compared. This comparison provides a method for estimating the glomerular filtration rate and evaluating kidney function.
In contrast, a renal panel uses only a blood sample. While a standard renal panel measures creatinine in the blood, it does not include a urine collection or comparative measurement.
The renal panel also includes a more diverse set of measurements, including proteins, minerals, and electrolytes, than a creatinine clearance test.
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How Is A Renal Panel Different From A Comprehensive Or Basic Metabolic Panel
The BMP has 8 components, all of which are included in the CMP, which has a total of 14 measurements. The components of the BMP and CMP are more standardized than the renal panel, which can vary between laboratories.
The BMP, CMP, and most renal panels include measurements of glucose, electrolytes, calcium, and the waste products creatinine and urea nitrogen. The CMP and many renal panels also include measurement of albumin.
An important difference for the comprehensive metabolic panel is its inclusion of tests that help assess the condition of the liver. These are tests found on a typical liver panel test.
Because it is not as standardized, a renal panel test may include measurements, such as phosphorus or the anion gap, that are not found on the BMP or CMP.
Understanding Kidney Function Test Results
In order to understand kidney function tests, also known as a renal panel, it is important to understand what the kidneys do. The kidneys filter the blood and remove unwanted waste from the bloodstream. They also remove excess water from the body, helping to regulate blood pressure and the fluid balance of the body.
When the kidneys are functioning well, there is very little unwanted waste in the body. When these waste levels in the blood begin to climb, they can indicate that the kidneys are no longer functioning as well as they should.
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Managing Kidney Disease In Dogs And Cats
The goal of treatment in kidney disease cases is to reduce the workload of the functional kidney tissue. When the disease is diagnosed earlier, there will be a larger percentage of functioning nephrons available to maintain overall health. Initially, pain medications, intravenous fluids, and anti-nausea drugs may be used to stabilize the animals condition. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, while stones/blockages can be treated with surgery and dietary changes. In severe cases, kidney dialysis or kidney transplant may be indicated.
Once stabilized, kidney damage can be controlled through dietary changes to reduce the amount of protein filtering through the nephrons, allowing them to work better. Depending on the severity of the damage, animals with this condition will have different prognoses. If caught early enough, animals may stabilize and the kidneys may compensate well enough to only require dietary modification and routine monitoring. If the disease has progressed, animals may require periodic fluid therapy along with medications as needed to control symptoms. Diets for kidney disease patients are generally low in protein, sodium, and phosphorus are enhanced with high-quality protein and carbohydrate sources and enriched with antioxidants and fatty acids.
Hall JA, Yerramilli M, Obare M, Yerramilli M, Melendez LD, Jewel DE. Relationship between lean body mass and serum renal biomarkers in healthy dogs. J Vet Intern Med 2015 29:808-814.
Diagnosing Kidney Disease In Adults
At NYU Langone, specialists called nephrologists diagnose and manage kidney disease. In this chronic condition, the kidneys slowly lose their ability to filter waste from the blood. If this condition isnt managed, it can lead to kidney failure, in which one or both kidneys no longer function. Some people may experience acute kidney failure, in which the organs fail in less than two days.
The kidneys are small, bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist, located under the rib cage in the back. They have several important functions, including removing digested food, chemicals, medication, and other waste products from the blood. These are then excreted in urine.
The kidneys also balance the bodys levels of fluids and electrolytes, such as phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. These are essential for the proper functioning of the heart, muscles, and other structures. The kidneys also make hormones that help regulate blood pressure, stimulate the production of red blood cells, and strengthen bones.
When the kidneys are not able to function properly, the body retains toxins and excess fluid and can fail to make enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen to organs and tissue.
Some people with chronic kidney disease experience no symptoms. They may receive a diagnosis only after having blood or urine testing for another condition.
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Does A Blood Test Detect Kidney Stones
The blood test can show if you have high levels of certain minerals in your blood that can lead to kidney stones. Imaging tests. Health care professionals use imaging tests to find kidney stones. Diagnostic tests for kidney and ureteral stones include: Imaging tests X-rays can help diagnose some stones, but they may miss smaller stones.
Blood tests are a normal part of your healthcare and help your doctor assess your overall health. When you receive a copy of your blood test results, you might be confused by all the numbers and abbreviations. Learn more about the common te.
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Uric acid also can collect in the urinary tract, causing kidney stones. Gout is one of the.
Unlike kidney disease in which the condition can be treated.