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Kidney Function Test – Purpose, Types, & More Explained

Kidney Function Test – Purpose, Types, & More Explained

Posted By HealthcareOnTime Team Posted on 2021-07-28

The kidneys in the human body are located on either side of the spinal cord. It is the primary function of kidneys to filter waste materials from the human body. Apart from this, kidneys are instrumental in maintaining an optimal level of water and other essential minerals in the body. They play a vital role in the production of vitamin D, hormones that regulate blood pressure and Red blood cells. When the kidneys are functioning well, all of the aforementioned processes function seamlessly. This is what a kft test determines.

Kidney Function Test – Purpose, Types, & More Explained

However, if there is a concern, then one may potentially see symptoms like high blood pressure, painful urination, frequent urges to urinate, blood in the urinary pH, swelling of the hands and feet due to a buildup of fluids in the body, and difficulty beginning urination. Thus, maintaining the good health of one’s kidneys becomes imperative over a period of time.

Purpose of Kidney Function Tests

The basic purpose of any test is to gauge the efficiency or functionality of the process or object being assessed. Similarly, the purpose of a kidney function test is to measure the functions of the kidneys, deciphering damage or abnormalities (if any) and potentially deriving a diagnosis to rectify the same. Let us take a look at some of the common tests undertaken:

Types and Procedures of Kidney Function Tests

Urinalysis – This kidney test helps to uncover several kinds of kidney and urinary tract disorders including Diabetes, bladder infections, Kidney stones, and chronic kidney disease. The test is conducted via a microscopic examination of a urine sample used as a dipstick.

This is dipped into a urine sample after being chemically treated. In the presence of abnormalities like elevated levels of diabetes, bacteria, liver, or pus the strip changes color. This helps arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

Serum Creatinine Test – kidneys, in layman’s terms, is merely the waste product that is produced in the human body due to regular wear and tear of the muscles. It varies in people according to demographic factors like race, age, or even body size.

In women, an optimal level of Creatinine is supposed to be 1.2 and in men, it is supposed to be at 1.4. Any more than this is considered to be symptomatic of early signs of kidney malfunction. The level of kidney degeneration and increase in creatinine levels in the body are directly proportional.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – This kidney blood test is derived from the breakdown of protein consumption in the human body. Typically, in the case of any illness, the rise in the kidneys level is accompanied by a decline in regular kidney functions. An optimal BUN level is supposed to be between 7 and 20.

Human body generates waste products, termed Urea, which is nothing but a broken down component of Nitrogen present in proteins (the building blocks of the body). Kidneys are solely responsible for eliminating Urea Nitrogen, produced in the liver. Varying levels of Urea Nitrogen (present in the blood) are good measures of renal functioning.

When is BUN TEST suggested?
- Decrease in amount of urine
- Buff coloured, bloody urine
- Mid-back pain in flank region, pain in kidney region
- High-blood pressure
- During pregnancy

BUN levels increase in case of
- Impaired Renal functioning
- Dehydration
- GI tract haemorrhage
- Excessive protein intake
- Tissue damage
- Shock or severe dehydration

BUN levels decrease in case of
Liver damage

Elevated BUN levels indicate an acute or a chronic kidney disease, damage or failure. Decreased BUN levels may indicate low urea, levels in the blood, which is observed in case of late pregnancy and liver inflammation. Thyrocare provides diagnostic testing for BUN at affordable rates by using state-of-the-art automation and robust technologies such as Photometry/ Kinetic UV assay.

The important thing to remember in this case is that factors like some kinds of antibiotics and even large doses of aspirin can be instrumental in increasing the BUN. Thus, keeping one’s doctor in the loop at all times is critical.

Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) – This test gauges the efficiency of the basic functions of the kidneys in terms of eliminating waste. This gets calculated via the kidneys levels utilizing factors like age and gender.

As one gets older the level of eGFR decreases. A GFR below 60 is a clear red flag that the kidneys are not operating at an optimal level. If it drops below 15, one needs to undergo treatment like dialysis or a kidney transplant on an immediate basis. The normal value for eGFR is pegged at 90. Thus, the age-old question of what is renal function test gets answered here.

Process of Tests and Diagnosis

How to test kidney function is a common enough question asked by a lot of people. A kidney biopsy is one of the processes which is a definitive option for ailments. Some of the reasons why a biopsy is recommended may potentially be to identify specific diseases and to gauge what treatment it would respond to.

It would also be used to assess the amount of current damage in the kidneys due to the spread of the disease and to analyze why an existing transplant is not performing well. A thin needle with a sharp cutting edge is used to slice out small pieces of kidney tissue and placed under a microscope for this procedure.

In terms of urine samples, the day the test is to start, one needs to urinate regularly upon waking up. Once that is done, for the rest of the day, the urine needs to be collected in a separate container provided by one’s doctor. The container needs to be capped tight and stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight (like a refrigerator). Upon waking up the next day, one needs to urinate directly into the container as this completes the twenty-four-hour collection process.

After which, the container needs to be delivered to the doctor’s office for further diagnosis. Likewise, blood samples also need to be extracted by a professional at their medical center or laboratory. It is imperative to remember not to try to do this at home. Any kind of kidney profile test must always be done in a controlled environment and by qualified professionals.

In case of signs of early kidney disease, it is vital to follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter. In case of conditions like high blood pressure, there will be medication prescribed for the same. Also, to improve overall wellness, there would be changes suggested in terms of diet and nutrition as well.

In the case of blood sugar, a visit to an endocrinologist is a must as their specialization is in Metabolic diseases and would be instrumental in assuring one of the best kinds of glucose control. In case of slightly simpler ailments like Kidney stones or excessive use of painkillers leading to addiction over a period of time, one’s doctor would suggest appropriate steps to correct it.


At the end of the day, any kind of abnormal test results indicates that one may need regular kidney function tests going ahead. These would help one take pre-emptive steps to arrest any disease development in the future.


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