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Kidney Disease - Know The Tests That Help You Diagnose!

Written and reviewed by
DM - Nephrology, MD-Medicine, MBBS
Nephrologist, Delhi  •  24 years experience
Kidney Disease - Know The Tests That Help You Diagnose!

Early kidney disease does not have definite signs and symptoms. Getting tested is the best way to detect how your kidneys are functioning. It is important for you to get checked for early kidney disease if you carry high-risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney problems. Early detection of kidney disease can help slow down its progress and even reverse the damage. Here’s a quick guide to the tests that are used to measure your kidney function:

  1. Blood Tests: 
    • Serum Creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product that is excreted because of normal wear and tear in the muscles of your body. If creatinine levels are greater than 1.2, it may be a warning sign that your kidneys are not functioning properly.
    • Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR): How well is your kidney removing wastes and excess fluid from your body? The GFR is a mathematical calculation of kidney function and the lower the GFR, the lower the kidney function. A normal GFR is 90 or above.
    • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): The breakdown of protein in the foods you eat is computed by the urea nitrogen value in your blood. A higher BUN value means the kidney is not working right. A normal BUN level is between 7 and 20.
  2. Imaging Tests: 
    • UltrasoundIn order to detect any abnormalities in the size or position of the kidneys, an ultrasound can be done as it would give a much clearer picture
    • CT Scan: Any structural abnormalities and presence of obstructions need to be examined as well.
  3. Kidney BiopsyA thin needle is used to make a small incision in the kidney for microscopic examination. It is done to identify the cause of the disease and assess the amount of damage. This test is needed to select the best treatment option for the patient and know how quickly the disease is progressing.
  4. Urine Tests: 
    • Urinalysis: Microscopic examination of the urine is done or a dipstick test can also be done to detect the presence of any abnormalities like excess protein, blood, bacteria, pus or sugar.
    • Urine Protein: An excess amount of protein in the urine is called as proteinuria and used to measure the levels of protein.
    • Microalbuminuria: A more sensitive dipstick test to detect tiny amounts of a protein called albumin in the urine. This is done for patients with diabetes and high blood pressure.
    • Creatinine Clearance: Comparison of the creatinine levels in the blood and urine is done to show how much of waste the kidney is filtering out.

Be well-informed of all the diagnosis that can be done for kidney disease. Prevention is better than cure, so get your kidneys tested periodically to stay healthy.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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