There are two kidneys located on the right and left sides of your spine. Each one has a size approximately the same as the fist of a human. The kidneys are situated below the rib cage and at the back of the abdomen.
The activities of the kidney impact your health. A very critical function of the kidney in keeping your health intact is the filtration of waste substances from the blood and getting them off the body in the form of urine. Again, the kidney keeps the level of water and other essential nutrients balanced. Do you also know that your kidney is the organ that produces red blood cells, blood pressure regulatory hormones, and vitamin D?
When all of these functions are no longer active in your body through the doctor's examination, they may recommend tests for kidney function. If you think these tests are complex, they are not. The doctor will simply take samples of your urine and blood to diagnose the problem your kidney may be having.
If health conditionsmay put your kidney in danger – conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes – the doctor may ask that you get kidney function tests. The good thing is that the tests will keep your doctor informed about these conditions.
What are the symptoms of a kidney problem?
There are signs that could indicate your kidney is no longer functioning optimally. These include:
- Blood in the urine
- High blood pressure
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty in starting the urinating process
- Pain during urination
- Swollen hands and feet as a result of fluid buildup in the body
If you have just one symptom, the problem may not be so severe. But in a case where the symptoms are showing up simultaneously, it could be a sign that your kidney function is down. The underlying cause could be detected via tests for kidney function.
That said, let's consider these tests that can show what's wrong with your kidney.
What are the types of tests for kidney function?
What private doctors will be looking at in the set of tests for kidney function is your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The estimate obtained from this test gives a clear description of how well or poorly your kidney is discharging body waste.
Here are the tests:
Urinalysis: If there is blood and protein in your urine, this test will detect it. That's precisely what the test does. Protein can be found in your urine for many reasons; not all of them may be attributed to a disease anyway. While your urine protein may be high due to an infection, an extreme physical workout can also cause this hike. Your doctor may repeat this test after a few weeks to note similarities in the outcome.
Your doctor may also demand a 24-hour sample of urine. With this, the doctor can read the rate at which creatinine, a waste material,leaves your body. When muscle tissue breaks down, it forms creatinine.
Serum creatinine test: This is a blood test that checks for the presence of creatinine in the blood. It is typical of the kidney to get rid of blood creatinine. So, failure to do so will leave more creatinine in the blood – a pointer to a kidney issue.
If you have a creatinine level above 1.4 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) as a man, it shows there's a problem with your kidney. Women with creatinine level above 1.2 mg/dL also have a problem with their kidney.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN):Here, the presence of waste products in your body is checked via this test. The quantity of nitrogen in your blood is measured with the BUN. When protein breaks down, urea nitrogen is formed.
Please note that not every high BUN test is associated with a kidney malfunction. This is because some medications like certain antibiotics and so many doses of aspirin can elevate BUN in the body. Based on this, you should let your doctor know about any medication or supplements you take on a regular. There may be a need for you to avoid taking some medications before the test.
A normal BUN level is in the range of 7 to 20 mg/dL. If the value is high, it could indicate several health issues.
Estimated GFR: Remember the glomerular filtration rate we mentioned earlier? Yes, this test takes a look at how functional your kidney is at waste filtration. The following factors are considered when estimating the rate of filtering waste during this test:
- The result from the test, particularly creatinine levels
Kidney disease may be imminent judging from any result that is less than 60 millilitres/minute/1.73m2.
What is the procedure for the tests?
To carry out tests for kidney function, a blood sample and a 24-hour urine sample are needed.
24-hour urine sample: This is a test that measures creatinine levels. With it, your doctor will know the amount of creatinine leaving your body a day.
When you want to begin this test, pee into the toilet just like you do when you wake up.
Any other urine for the rest of the day and night that comes out of your body after the first one, deposit into a special container your doctor will give you. Let the container remain sealed and refrigerated during the collection process. Do well to separate this container from others by labelling it. Please tell other members of the family why the container is inside the fridge.
When you wake up on the second day, pee into the container – the 24-hour collection process is now complete.
Your doctor will tell you where to take the sample; it could be in their office or at the lab.
Blood samples: For serum creatinine and BUN, the doctor needs a sample of your blood. This sample can be taken in the laboratory or at the doctor's office.
First, the technician will tie a tourniquet (an elastic band) around your upper arm to make your veins pronounced. Using a cotton swab, the technician will clean the veiny area. After that, they will inject a hollow needle into the vein via your skin. Your blood will flow through the needle into a test tube and sent to the lab for analysis.
A sharp pricking sensation may be felt as the needle penetrates the skin on your arm. After drawing the blood, the technician will cover the area with a gauze and bandage. You may experience a bruise in the site surrounding the site in the days that follow, but the discomfort should not be severe or prolonged.
Treating early kidney disease
Should the test result indicate that it is an early kidney disease, your doctor will go ahead and treat the pre-existing condition.
If there is hypertension from the test result, the doctor will prescribe drugs that will put blood pressure under check. In addition, they may ask that you change your diet and lifestyle.
Where diabetes is the case, your doctor may ask that you consult an endocrinologist. This doctor is a specialist in metabolic diseases. With their help, your blood glucose level can be effectively controlled.
Suppose the test shows that the kidney malfunction is due to other reasons like overuse of pain relief medications and kidney stones; in that case, your doctor will professionally help you manage these problems.
When the test result is abnormal, you need regular kidney tests in the coming months. Your doctor will be able to keep a close watch over you with these tests.
The important function of the kidney makes it an organ that shouldn't be neglected, especially when you are experiencing symptoms of failure. Kindly visit a private GP practice in London today if you are having problems with your kidney. They will perform all the necessary tests and give the best possible care. We hope you found this post useful.