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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

Creatinine and Creatinine Clearance Blood Tests

Creatinine is a waste product from the normal breakdown of muscle tissue. As creatinine is produced, it's filtered through the kidneys and excreted in urine. Doctors measure the blood creatinine level as a test of kidney function. The kidneys' ability to handle creatinine is called the creatinine clearance rate, which helps to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) -- the rate of blood flow through the kidneys.

Read the Creatinine and Creatinine Clearance Blood Tests 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.

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:

Other tests

Your doctor may use other tests to monitor kidney function or to find out whether another kidney disease or condition is contributing to reduced kidney function.

Early screening for chronic kidney disease

Experts recommend screening tests for chronic kidney disease in high-risk groups, such as people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Kidney disease runs in families, so close family members may also want to have their kidney function tested. Being diagnosed with kidney disease before it has progressed gives you the best chance to control the disease.

To learn more about screening if you already have diabetes or high blood pressure, see:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 15, 2011
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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