In talking about diabetes, we often discuss “understanding your numbers,” such as your A1C and high blood pressure. These are essential numbers, obviously, but what’s often neglected is your kidney numbers. These numbers might or may not be something that your doctor talks to you about — if you do not know about your kidney test results, ask! In the meantime, here’s a rundown of some typical tests, typically called kidney function tests, that you ought to recognize with.
The microalbumin test is a urine test that checks for very little (micro) quantities of protein called albumin in your urine. The microalbumin test may also be called a:
- Urine albumin test
- Albumin-to-creatinine ratio
- Microalbumin-to-creatinine ratio
You may be asked to give a random urine sample or a timed urine sample (such as over night), or you might be asked to collect your urine over a 24-hour duration. (A microalbumin test is not the like a regular urine dipstick test, by the method). It’s suggested that everybody with diabetes have a microalbumin test done a minimum of as soon as a year. Have you had yours yet?
Protein in the urine can signify numerous things, including kidney damage from unrestrained diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, heart failure, and lupus. It can likewise take place due to difficult exercise, blood in the urine, urinary tract infections, and specific medications, like aspirin and some antibiotics.
The goal is a microalbumin level of less than 30 milligrams (mg). If the outcome is 30 or higher, you will need to have the test duplicated 2 — 3 more times over the next 3 — 6 months. A reading of 30 to 299 mg (called microalbuminuria) may show early kidney disease. A reading of 300 mg or more (called proteinuria) signifies advanced kidney disease. The existence of protein in the urine can also show an increased risk for heart disease.
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)
While the microalbumin test can show the presence of kidney damage, another test, called the eGFR, informs you how well your kidneys are working. Your doctor really computes your eGFR by measuring the level of a compound referred to as creatinine in your blood and after that plugging that result into an equation. Essentially, the eGFR determines how well your kidneys are filtering creatinine from your blood.
The eGFR should be checked at least once a year. You may require it inspected regularly if you have signs of early kidney damage or if you have kidney disease. Healthy kidneys normally filter 100 milliliters per minute (ml/min). An eGFR lower than 60 ml/min recommends some kidney damage. Less than 15 ml/min suggests kidney failure.
The eGFR is simply an estimate, however, and it can be affected by things like age (it’s not valid for those under the age of 18 or over the age of 75), muscle mass, poor nutrition, obesity, and particular medications. However, it’s a handy tool to provide your doctor a much better sense of what’s going on with your kidneys. Opportunities are, your doctor (or the lab) computes your eGFR, but you might not have actually been informed your outcome. So, the next time you see your doctor, ask and make sure it’s been done.
Also read: Diabetes Mellitus and Kidney Stones
Creatinine is a waste product that forms when muscle tissue breaks down. The kidneys filter out creatinine and excrete it in the urine. When kidneys aren’t working along with they should, creatinine can build up in the blood. A blood or serum creatinine test can inform you how well your kidneys are working: To do this, your doctor will plug your creatinine result into an equation to figure out the eGFR, as I discussed above.
Your doctor will likely examine your blood creatinine level at least when a year, and more frequently if you have kidney disease or hypertension. Often, your doctor will inspect your urine creatinine level, too to identify the level of kidney damage.
Normal creatinine results variety from 0.6 to 1.3 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), but the referral range can differ from lab to lab, between men and women, and by age. A creatinine above the reference variety can show kidney damage, but the level might be high due to a high meat consumption, dehydration, or creatine supplements.
See also: Metformin and Kidney Disease
Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) Test
The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood that’s formed from urea, a by-product of protein breakdown made in the liver. The kidneys excrete BUN in the urine. The BUN is yet another test that informs how your kidneys are working. A high BUN can suggest that the kidneys aren’t getting rid of urea and therefore aren’t doing their job. However high levels might likewise be because of heart failure, dehydration, fever, and a high-protein diet. Low BUN levels can take place during pregnancy or with liver disease or damage.
It’s common for BUN to be measured along with creatinine to determine the BUN-to-creatinine ratio. Normal BUN ranges for men are normally 8 — 24 mg/dl and 6 — 21 mg/dl for women. A normal BUN-to-creatinine ratio is generally 10:1 to 20:1. High BUN-to-creatinine ratios may arise from sudden kidney failure, shock, severe dehydration, kidney stones, or bleeding in the digestion tract.
The two essential kidney tests that you should make sure you get done every year are the microalbumin test and the eGFR. Find out if they’ve been done, what the results are, and what it means if your outcomes aren’t within the target range.