Like in many other disorders, early detection and treatment can often keep kidney disease from progressing into kidney failure. The soonest kidney disease is discovered, the greater the possibility of slowing, if not stopping, its progression.
As someone who wants to keep their kidneys healthy, one of the most important steps that should be taken is to avail of kidney tests even before ever experiencing any symptoms.
As you may already know, early kidney disease tends to show no symptoms. This is true for most people. For this reason, getting tested gives you a clear status of your kidney’s health.
But what are the simple kidney tests one can take and how to interpret the numbers from these tests?
To arrive with your kidney numbers, there are two simple tests or kidney screening that can be taken. One is the ACR (Albumin to Creatinine Ratio) and the other is GFR (glomerular filtration rate).
ACR (Albumin to Creatinine Ratio) – in this test, your urine will be tested for Albumin, a type of protein in the urine. Increased excretion of urinary albumin serves as a marker of kidney damage and ACR is the preferred method to detect the elevation. Note, an individual with a considerably healthy kidney normally excrete very small amounts of protein in the urine.
GFR (glomerular filtration rate) – in this test, your blood will be tested for creatinine – a waste product from muscle tissue. Creatinine can be a challenge to remove from the blood when the kidneys are damaged. Your creatinine test result is then used in a calculation with your gender, body size, race and age data to come up with your GFR. Recommended reading: Understanding your kidney blood test
ACR result – is defined by dividing albumin concentration in milligrams (mg) by creatinine concentration in grams (g). Protein in the urine is a tell-tale sign that your kidneys are not doing their filtration job correctly. Three (3) “positive” results for over a period of at least three (3) months is an indication that you have kidney disease. Recommended reading: Creatine – things you need to know
GFR result – basically your GFR number tells you how much kidney function you have. The GFR number goes down as damage to kidneys gets worse. This means with GFR of 90 and above you have a kidney functioning normally, while a GFR of 15 and below means you have a kidney failure. Numbers in between are identified accordingly by mild, moderate and severe loss of kidney function.
Keeping healthy kidneys is just a matter of detecting the problem early, monitoring them and doing your part in helping these organs maintain their health. With tests such as ACR and GFR, you have a way of knowing when your kidneys are okay or not. Check with your doctor about having these tests.