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What does GFR mean in relation to kidney disease?

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Quick Answer

A glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, measures how well a person's kidneys filter waste from the blood. A GFR of 60 or higher is considered normal kidney function, according to the National Kidney Disease Education Program.

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Full Answer

Through glomerular filtration, the kidneys remove excess fluids and waste from the blood. GFR is a calculation that determines how well the kidneys are filtering the blood. GFR detects stages of chronic kidney disease. A GFR under 60 may indicate kidney disease. The lower the GFR, the less the kidneys are functioning, states WebMD.

Another test that determines kidney function is urine albumin. Properly functioning kidneys do not allow albumin enter the urine. When the kidneys are damaged, albumin passes into the urine stream. An albumin result less than 30 is normal, while higher ranges indicate kidney disease.

Several conditions are known to cause kidney disease. For example, people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk for chronic kidney disease, as well as those who suffer from high blood pressure. Smokers and obese people have an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. Additionally, African-Americans, Native Americans and Asian-Americans are more likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease, reports Mayo Clinic.

Chronic kidney disease gets worse over time as the kidneys slowly lose function. The final stage of chronic kidney disease is end-stage renal disease. When ESRD occurs, the kidneys are unable to filter waste from the body. At this point, the patient needs a kidney transplant or dialysis. As of 2015, there is no cure for chronic kidney disease, according to MedlinePlus.

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