Kidney Function Tests
What are the functions of the kidneys?
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs, located on either side of the spine just below the rib cage at the upper back side of the abdomen. The kidneys are vital organs that perform various pivotal functions maintaining the overall health of the body.
Healthy kidneys prevent the accumulation of excess water and waste in the body by flushing them out in the form of urine. The kidneys also manage and regulate the levels of chemicals present in the blood such as sodium, potassium, and calcium. They also produce hormones that help regulate blood pressure.
Performing various significant functions has made the kidneys vulnerable to a number of diseases. When there is a malfunction in the kidneys, it is hazardous to the overall health of the body leading to grave conditions which can be fatal. Therefore, early detection and treatment of kidney disease are crucial for overall health and enjoying a quality life.
The doctor may recommend kidney function tests if s/he suspects there is a malfunction in the kidneys. These tests include blood and urine tests which could help the doctor identify issues with the kidneys.
What are the signs and symptoms of kidney problems?
The following signs and symptoms could indicate kidney problems :
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Blood spots in the urine
- Urinary incontinence or frequent urge to urinate
- Experiencing pain and difficulties while urinating
- If there is swelling of the hands and feet as a result of fluids build-up in the body
These symptoms may suggest kidney problems if they are appearing simultaneously and frequently. In such cases, the individual needs to get kidney function tests done to diagnose the problem and to get early treatment.
What are the types of kidney function tests?
Kidney function tests can help the doctor determine if there is kidney disease. There are various tests that can estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The eGFR is an evaluation of kidney function that indicates how well the kidneys are functioning in removing waste from the body or how much the glomeruli, the tiny filters in the kidneys, filter the blood.
The tests that help the doctor in measuring kidney function include:
Urinalysis or Urine test
This urine test detects whether the kidneys are releasing or leaking protein and blood in the urine. The abnormal amounts of protein in the urine is indicative of kidney damage. However, other factors such as heavy physical activity could also be the cause of protein release in the urine. Therefore, the patient may be asked to take the same test after some time to compare the results. The patient may also be instructed to bring a 24-hour urine collection sample so that the doctor can analyse the speed of removing a waste product called creatinine from the body.
Serum creatinine test
This is a blood test that checks the presence of creatinine in the blood. If there is a presence of a high level of creatinine in the blood, it suggests there is a kidney problem or kidney damage.
Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test determines whether waste products are found in the blood and evaluates the quantity of urea nitrogen present in the blood, which could indicate kidney problems. The presence of nitrogen in the blood can also be increased due to certain medications such as antibiotics and aspirins. Therefore, the patient should inform the doctor about any medications that one is taking. The doctor may advise the patient to refrain from consuming such medications sometime before the test.
The estimated GFR is a test that assesses the kidney function of filtering waste from the body. This test determines the kidney function in relation to creatinine levels, age, gender, race, height, and weight of the patient.
How are the kidney function tests performed?
The tests that measure the functioning of kidneys require a day or 24-hour urine sample and a blood test for reliable results. There is no additional patient preparation required for these tests.
24-hour urine sample
The urine sample of the patient is investigated by the doctor to see how much creatinine is cleared by the body in a single day. As the patient begins the test, s/he can urinate normally into the toilet after they get up from the bed. As the day progresses, the patient has to store the urine in a container as instructed by the doctor. The urine in the container should be tightly capped and kept in the refrigerator throughout the time. The urine of the next morning should be stored in the container to complete the cycle of 24 hours. After that, the patient needs to carry the urine sample to the place as instructed by the doctor.
Blood samples are required for BUN and serum creatinine tests. Blood samples are drawn from the vein in the arm by the technician in a laboratory or doctor’s office. The blood is drawn in a test tube which is dispatched for analysis. The patient may experience mild pain at the site of injection which will last for a short time only.
What is the treatment for early kidney conditions?
The doctor will inform the patient if the test results depict any early kidney condition. The doctor will give utmost importance to the treatment of early kidney conditions and prescribe medications to control the symptoms. The doctor will also suggest adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle to treat and prevent further damage to the kidneys’ health.
In case of abnormal kidney function test results such as kidney stones, the doctor will take appropriate measures to manage. Abnormal test results mean you’ll probably need regular kidney function tests in the months ahead. These will help your doctor keep an eye on your condition. In the case of other underlying conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, which are the symptoms of kidney damage, the patient may require to receive treatments for them to prevent further deterioration of the kidneys’ health.
Seeking early diagnosis and treatment of kidney conditions is pivotal for the overall health of a person.
Meet the medical specialists at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad
Dr. Ravinder Singh Bhadoria (Senior Consultant, Nephrology & Kidney Transplantation)
Dr. Ravinder Singh Bhadoria is a dedicated nephrologist. He is highly trained and has worked with some of the best nephrologists at various hospitals and clinical establishments of Delhi NCR. He has an experience of 15 years in neurosurgery at numerous reputed hospitals in Delhi-NCR. His expertise lies in the management of critically ill nephrology patients, general nephrology patients, patients with CKD Stage-V, and renal transplantation.
Dr. Pradeep Prakash (Consultant, Urology and Uro-Oncology)
Dr. Pradeep Prakash is one of the best urologists with more than 13 years of experience in the field of minimally invasive urology and urologic cancer surgery. He is an alumnus of the reputed AIIMS, New Delhi, and was awarded a two-year fellowship in Robotic Surgery and Uro-Oncology from AIIMS, New Delhi. He specialises in minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgeries for the management of urologic cancers such as prostate, kidney, and bladder cancers. His expertise lies in andrology and male infertility, which is a crucial but often neglected field in India.
Book an appointment at Yashoda Hospital and get the best treatment by our medical experts.