Identifying the Risks for Kidney Disease and Testing
With kidney diseases, the first symptoms you may have may be ones that you don’t feel but may show up in tests ordered by your physician.
Know Your Numbers
When you see your nephrologist to be screened for kidney disease, your nephrologist will perform an examination and order lab tests to measure your physical health.
GFR test: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) measures your level of kidney function. Knowing your GFR helps your nephrologist determine what stage of kidney disease you have and develop a treatment plan. There are 5 stages of GFR.
- Stage 1 with normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 ml/min)
- Stage 2 Mild CKD (GFR = 60-89 ml/min)
- Stage 3 Moderate CKD (GFR = 30-59 ml/min)
- Stage 4 Severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 ml/min)
- Stage 5 End Stage CKD (GFR <15 ml/min)
Hypertension (high blood pressure): Hypertension may lead to a higher risk of developing kidney disease. It is important to monitor and control your blood pressure to prevent kidney disease. Monitoring your blood pressure helps your nephrologist know how well your cardiovascular system is working.
Diabetes: Diabetes may lead to a higher risk of developing kidney disease. It is important to monitor and control your blood sugar. A registered dietitian is available to assist with a nutrition plan.
Monitor your weight: Being overweight can increase your risk of developing kidney disease. Your physician can help develop a plan of care to help with your nutrition. This may include a referral to a registered dietitian who specializes in nutrition and kidney disease.
Healthy kidneys clean your blood by removing excess fluid, minerals and waste. Your kidneys make hormones that keep your bones strong and blood healthy. When your kidneys fail, you may have harmful wastes build up, a rise in blood pressure, retention of excess fluid, and the inability to make enough red blood cells. When this happens, treatment to replace the work of the kidneys is needed. This is when dialysis must begin.