Monday, August 3, 2009

How Well are Your Kidneys Doing

Today, we begin series on the using the GFR test to measure kidney function.

There are many tests that are used in order to learn how well one's kidneys are functioning. There are blood tests, imaging tests, and all sorts of other procedures. In the end, they all seek to obtain one value, the GFR, or glomerular filtration rate.

The GFR tells us how efficiently kidneys are filtereing waste products from person's blood. One of the most common ways of calculating for the GFR is by taking a patient's creatinine blood sample.

The creatinine result will then be used in order to estimate the GFR using a variety of formulas. One of the most commonly used formulas is the MDRD, which uses a patient's serum creatinine level, age, gender and race to estimate kidney function.

A more traditional approach to measuring GFR is through the collection of urine. Here, a substance is injected into the bloodstream and later measured in a 24-hour urine collection.

A third measure is the nuclear GFR measurement. In this process, an isotope is injected into the bloodstream and scanned by a nuclear imaging machine. You just lie on the machine, similar to when you do a CT scan, and wait for about three to five minutes. The machine is able to track how well your blood is being filtered by your kidney through the isotope. And a day later you have your GFR measurement.

The table below gives us the an idea of how well your kidneys are doing:

The real danger level is at a GFR of 15 and below, which basically means that your kidneys aren't going to be able to sustain life, unless you get a form of renal replacement therapy, either a transplant or dialysis.

The other thing to note is that levels below 90 is a sign that something is happening within your kidneys. This allows you to make lifestyle changes in order to prevent any further possible deterioration in the kidney's function.

To proceed to part 2 of the series, click here.

Related Posts :

No comments:

Post a Comment