Am I at Risk? · Testing for CKD · Diagnostic Guidelines
Testing for Chronic Kidney Disease
Early detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease, including lifestyle changes and medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, may delay or prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure along with the various complications of kidney disease including heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Strict blood pressure control in chronic kidney disease also reduces the risk of kidney failure and heart disease.
The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois recommends for individuals who are at-risk for kidney disease having three simple tests performed at your annual physical.
Blood Pressure - Most people have had their blood pressure checked at least once in their lifetime. Blood pressure monitoring is particularly important for people who are at-risk for kidney disease. Not only can high blood pressure cause kidney disease but, it can also be an early indicator of kidney disease itself. The kidney produces a hormone called renin which is responsible for regulating blood pressure. When the kidneys begin to fail, often times, blood pressure will increase because of its inability to regulate this hormone in the body. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
Urinalysis for Protein - The earliest sign of diabetic kidney disease is when small amounts of protein are excreted into the urine, sometimes referred to as "spilling protein". This condition is known as "microalbuminuria". As diabetes progresses, the small blood vessels in the kidneys become injured and the kidneys cannot clean your blood properly and wastes begin to build up. Over time, the damaged kidney blood vessels and filters begin to leak useful protein into the urine. Normally, this protein would be reabsorbed by the body. Ask your doctor for this test at your next annual physical, particularly if you have diabetes.
Blood Test for Serum Creatinine and eGFR Calculation - Kidney disease is based on how well your kidneys are filtering wastes from your blood. Creatinine is a waste product that is formed by the normal breakdown of muscle cells. Healthy kidneys remove creatinine from the blood and it leaves the body as waste in the form of urine. When your kidneys are not functioning properly, creatinine builds up in the blood.
Your estimated GLOMERULAR FILTRATION RATE (eGFR) is a measure of how well your kidneys are filtering waste from the body. Utilizing the serum creatinine result along with other factors such as weight, gender and race, your doctor can determine your GFR and better able to determine at what stage your kidney disease is in.