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Chronic Kidney Disease

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Exams and Tests

Tests for chronic kidney disease are vital to help find out:

  • Whether kidney disease happened suddenly or has been happening over a long time.
  • What is causing the kidney damage.
  • Which treatment is best to help slow kidney damage.
  • How well treatment is working.
  • When to begin dialysis or have a kidney transplant.

After you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, blood and urine tests can help you and your doctor monitor the disease.

Recommended Related to

Understanding Kidney Disease -- Symptoms

Early detection is the first step in treating chronic kidney disease. The symptoms of kidney disease may include: Nausea and vomiting Passing only small amounts of urine Swelling, particularly of the ankles, and puffiness around the eyes Unpleasant taste in the mouth and urine-like odor to the breath Persistent fatigue or shortness of breath Loss of appetite Increasingly higher blood pressure Muscle cramps, especially in the legs Pale skin Excessiv...

Read the Understanding Kidney Disease -- Symptoms article > >

Tests to check kidney function

When kidney function is decreased, substances such as urea, creatinine, and certain electrolytes begin to build up in the blood. The following tests measure levels of these substances to show how well your kidneys are working.

  • A blood creatinine test helps to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) by measuring the level of creatinine in your blood. The doctor can use the GFR to regularly check how well the kidneys are working and to stage your kidney disease.
  • A blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test measures how much nitrogen from the waste product urea is in your blood. BUN level rises when the kidneys aren't working well enough to remove urea from the blood.
  • A fasting blood glucose test is done to measure your blood sugar. High blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the kidneys.
  • Blood tests measure levels of waste products and electrolytes in your blood that should be removed by your kidneys.
  • A blood test for parathyroid hormone (PTH) checks the level of PTH, which helps control calcium and phosphorus levels.
  • Urinalysis (UA) and a urine test for microalbumin, or other urine tests, can measure protein in your urine. Normally there is little or no protein in urine.

Tests for anemia

If the kidneys don't produce enough of the hormone erythropoietin needed to make red blood cells, anemia can develop. The following tests help monitor anemia:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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