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Tests to Evaluate Kidney Damage, Function, and Look for Abnormalities

What are kidney function tests?

Almost 85 crore folks worldwide suffer from kidney diseases, while 10 crore Indians suffer from irreversible kidney failure. Worse is that nearly three-lakh Indian folk progress to end-stage, requiring either dialysis or a kidney transplant every year. Shocking, right? Sensing the alarming rate of increase, every individual must undertake an RFT test at least once every year.

These kidney function tests help determine how effectively the kidneys are functioning and simultaneously evaluate the level of different substances in the blood, such as proteins, electrolytes, minerals, and glucose. These tests are nothing complex but simple blood and urine tests that allow the doctors to examine your kidneys carefully and identify any signs of a problem.

According to experts, if you have diabetes or high blood pressure issues, these tests can come as a savior and help the doctors monitor these conditions well in advance.

How are Kidneys Important? An Insight into their Role

Kidneys are one of the most vital organs of your body. They are bean-shaped organs no larger than a human fist and are present on each side of your spine, just below the rib cage.

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Renal / Kidney Function Tests

(9 Tests)

  • Bun / Sr.creatinine Ratio
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (Bun)
  • Calcium
  • Creatinine - Serum
  • Uric Acid
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorous

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A healthy kidney can help with different functions, some of which include:

  • Filter out the blood
  • Remove unwanted waste from your body.
  • Removes the acid produced by different cells in the body
  • Maintains a healthy balance of water, nutrients, salts, and different minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, etc.) in the blood
  • Secretion of hormones that regulate normal functioning of the body

Failure to perform these functions can significantly damage your body’s muscles, tissues, and nerves and hamper their regular functionality.

In addition, the kidneys also help regulate your blood pressure (using the renin hormone), create new Red Blood Cells (using Erythropoietin hormone), and maintain your bone health (by converting vitamin D into its active form using calcitriol hormone), a vital process for the growth of the bones and to help keep them strong and healthy.

Why Do You Need a Kidney Function Test?

Doctors may recommend you undertake a kidney test if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Consistent high blood pressure
  • Noticing blood in your urine discharge
  • Frequently getting the urge to pee and facing difficulty during the process
  • Swelling in your hands and feet due to fluid buildup
  • If you have diabetes, your chances of suffering from chronic kidney diseases are more

These are just the initial signs that indicate that your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. Delaying the treatment process can worsen the situation, trigger the signs of chronic kidney disease, and you might start experiencing the following symptoms:

  • You will lose your appetite
  • Day-to-day regular jobs will make you feel tired and weak
  • You will feel nauseated and have the urge to vomit
  • Your skin will be all dry and itchy everywhere
  • Your sleep cycle will get disturbed unknowingly
  • You will experience muscle cramps combined with unwanted swelling in the feet and ankles
  • High blood pressure is another noticeable sign
  • At times, you will also experience chest pain and breathing issues (if fluid gets built up in your heart or lungs)

Types of Kidney Function Tests: A Sneak Peek

As stated earlier, kidney function tests are a simple combination of blood and urine tests that help you and your doctor figure out the state of your kidney health.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), Estimated GFR (eGFR), and Serum creatinine test are part of the Blood test category, while, Urinalysis and Microalbuminuria are part of the Urine tests category. At times, the doctors may also perform imaging tests like Biopsy, CT scan, and Ultrasound to determine any signs of physical damage to kidneys due to accidental injuries or the presence of kidney stones.

  1. Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Test

As the name indicates, the Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test measures the amount of urea nitrogen in your blood and helps you determine how well your kidneys are functioning. Urea nitrogen is nothing but a waste product that gets created in your liver when the body breaks down protein.

If your BUN levels are higher, it indicates that your kidneys aren’t filtering out the waste properly, not functioning properly, and might indicate kidney/liver damage. A thorough BUN test can help diagnose medical conditions like – liver damage, dehydration, malnutrition, urinary tract obstruction, congestive heart failure, and more.

According to experts, a normal Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) level must be between 7 and 20 milligrams per deciliter. A higher than this level may indicate different health problems affecting your kidneys. In addition, if you’re taking a high protein diet or are on medication (like aspirin)/heavy antibiotics, these too can significantly affect your BUN levels.

  1. Estimated GFR (eGFR)

Kidneys are the primary filtration system of our body and are responsible for removing waste products from the blood. Glomeruli are filters that help the kidneys in the filtration process. Thus, any damage to the kidney and your glomeruli filters will not function efficiently, requiring you to undertake a Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) test.

Doctors prescribe you a Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) test if you notice any signs of kidney damage (swelling in the foot/ankles, trouble urinating, etc.) when you’re on medication or when you suffer from any of the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • Frequent urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Noticing blood in your urine
  • Kidney stones

And many more.

GFR is calculated based on a specific formula that might require you to provide additional information like age, height, weight, sex, race, etc. Doctors calculate your GFR value based on these parameters and according to them, the lower the value of your GFR test, the more damaged your kidneys are.

  1. Serum Creatinine Test

Creatinine is a waste product that gets formed in your body when creatine (present in your body muscles breaks down). A thorough creatinine test measures the level of creatinine in your body and can help your doctors understand how well your kidneys are functioning.

Doctors combine creatinine tests with other laboratory tests like the Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test, Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP), or Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP). A combination of these tests diagnoses signs of potential diseases and checks for any irregularity in the regular functioning of the kidneys. Generally, a higher level of creatinine indicates kidney damage and that it's not functioning properly.

  1. Urinalysis

Doctors recommend the Urinalysis test if you suffer from issues like – diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or are experiencing symptoms like – abdominal pain, painful urination, back pain, etc. This test indicates the presence of undesirable particles in your urine, like proteins, blood, bacteria, pus, sugar, etc.

Excessive physical workouts or infections often are common trigger points that increase the protein level in the urine. As a result, the doctors may sometimes ask you to provide a 24-hour urine collection sample to identify how rapidly creatinine gets discharged from your body.

A urine test mostly examines three aspects – color and appearance, chemical findings, and microscopic findings. All these aspects are further categorized into multiple tests, which primarily help determine how healthy your urine sample is and if any undesirable substances (mentioned above) are present in it or not.

  1. Microalbuminuria or Albumin-to-creatinine Ratio Tests

Both these tests identify the level of albumin in your urine. Albumin is an important protein that keeps fluids in your blood vessels and transports substances through the blood. If your kidneys are discharging/filtering out large amounts of albumin through urine, it indicates a kidney problem. According to doctors, 30 milligrams per gram (mg/g) or less than this is the normal range of urine albumin. Anything higher than this indicates kidney disease and is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

  1. Ultrasound, CT Scan, Biopsy

Doctors perform imaging tests like ultrasound or CT scan when you've experienced any physical damage to your kidneys due to an accident or there are stones in your kidney.

Ultrasound involves analyzing your kidneys using photographs taken by producing harmless sound waves. It can help the doctors understand any change in the shape or position of the kidney or check for unwanted blockage due to kidney stones or tumors.

CT scan is more advanced and creates a series of X-ray images giving the experts a more in-depth, 3D representation of the kidneys. This imaging test helps doctors identify any structural changes or deformation in a kidney.

In a Kidney biopsy, the doctors insert a needle into your kidney to remove the kidney tissue, which is then sent to the lab for testing. A biopsy also helps them determine the progression rate of your kidney diseases, monitor other problems, and how well they respond to your treatment.

What Can I Expect after a Kidney Test?

Once you've undertaken the different kidney profile tests, in most cases, you will not experience a thing as these tests are pretty straightforward and come with no side effects. However, in some instances, people have experienced signs of dizziness, fatigue, and even bruising, especially after blood tests. If these symptoms persist for a long time, you must consult an experienced doctor immediately for medical help.

Results of Kidney Function Tests: What do they mean?

The anticipation of learning your lab reports can often be overwhelming for many folks. Since kidney function tests include a combination of different blood and urine sampling, here's a quick overview of each test and the meaning of their results:

  1. Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Test

For an individual, the normal range of BUN level is between 7 and 20 milligrams per deciliter. Therefore, a consistent rise in the BUN levels can indicate a rapid fall in the regular functioning of the kidneys.

  1. Estimated GFR (eGFR)

The GFR values are calculated based on a specific formula that requires not just your blood sample but even other parameters like – age, height, weight, race, and gender. Doctors divide the GFR values into five different stages, namely:

  • Stage 1: GFR value 90 or higher – Your kidneys are functioning almost properly, and there are few signs of mild damage
  • Stage 2: GFR value between 60 to 89 – The kidneys are still working fine to a great extent, but you still show signs of kidney damage<
  • Stage 3: GFR value between 30 to 59 – Your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, and you will start experiencing different symptoms of kidney disease
  • Stage 4: GFR value between 15 to 29: The kidneys are moderate to severely damaged and aren’t functioning properly
  • Stage 5: GFR value less than 15: Kidneys are almost failing, and you must undergo kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant operation
  1. Serum Creatinine Test

Creatinine levels for every individual vary depending on age and body size and are different for both genders. According to the doctors, for men & women, if the creatinine level is above 1.4   and 1.2, respectively, it's a warning sign that the kidneys aren't functioning properly. Doctors also state that the more the creatinine level, the worse the state of kidney disease for an individual.

  1. Urinalysis

If your urine includes blood, its color may be red or of tea or cola. If you're suffering from an infection, your urine can turn cloudy, and foamy urine is a clear indicator of your kidney disease. The presence of other unwanted substances like protein, sugar, pus, etc., are all indicators of kidney diseases and must be treated in advance to minimize drastic results.

  1. Microalbuminuria or Albumin-to-creatinine Ratio

If your regular dipstick test for proteinuria comes negative or you suffer from problems like diabetes/high blood pressure, you can undergo this test for more effective results. Experts divide the amount of albumin by the amount of creatinine in urine to calculate the Albumin-to-creatine (ACR) ratio. The bifurcation of values is as follows:

  • ACR value below 30 - Everything’s normal
  • ACR value between 30 and 300 – Your albumin level is moderately high
  • ACR value above 300 – severely increased albumin levels which may be fatal

If any of your tests show kidney disease signs, you must immediately consult your doctor for instant medical care. Starting the right medical treatment (in the form of medications or by controlling your blood pressure) under the supervision of experienced medical professionals and regular testing can help them consistently monitor your health condition, safeguarding you from drastic outcomes.

How Can You Keep Your Kidneys Healthy?

Kidneys are one of the many vital organs, so keeping them healthy must be of paramount importance. It doesn't matter if you're suffering from kidney diseases or not; following these simple hacks can help ensure you always keep your kidneys safe and in good shape:

  • Regular exercising: A sedentary lifestyle can trigger chronic kidney diseases and other multiple disorders. So, exercise regularly and keep your heart in a good healthy state.
  • Hydration: Most people suffer from kidney diseases because they do not intake adequate water. By consuming the right amount of water, you consistently remove toxins from your body. So, keep yourself hydrated at all times, and keep kidney issues at bay.
  • Monitor your blood pressure:  Keep a close watch on your blood pressure level as high BP increases your risk of kidney diseases. In addition, you must avoid stress and hypertension to elevate your blood pressure levels.
  • Combine Lemon Juice with Honey: An effective remedy if you suffer from kidney stones. Lemons are rich in citric acid and thus effectively fight against kidney stones by increasing urine citrate levels. When you combine lemon juice with honey, it reduces the pain of kidney stones and dissolves them rapidly. 

What Makes HealthcareOnTime Your Best Choice for Kidney Tests?

You might have to undertake kidney function tests regularly if you suffer from severe kidney diseases. Hence, these repetitive visits to the medical center can often put a dent in your pocket unless you get your tests done from a reliable and trusted center like HealthcareOnTime.

HealthcareOnTime is your best choice because they provide a free home sample collection facility, their kidney function/renal test price falls well within your budget, but they never compromise on providing you with the best quality and reliable medical care. We are making the KFT Test Price very reasonable for each and every one of our customers. Our laboratory offers good service and accurate reports. So, book your appointment with them today and get an accurate diagnosis and treatment for kidney disease from experienced professionals.

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