Who Should Have a Kidney Function Test?


Quick Answer

People suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes should undergo regular kidney tests to monitor possible renal damage resulting from those conditions, states Healthline. Anyone who has a reason to suspect poor kidney function should undergo similar testing.

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Some common symptoms of kidney problems include a frequent urge to urinate; pain or blood during urination; high blood pressure; swollen feet or hands from fluid buildup; and difficulty starting urination, notes Healthline. While each of these symptoms might not predict kidney problems in isolation, multiple symptoms occurring at the same time indicate a possible problem.

The purpose of kidney function tests is to help doctors determine the patient's glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, according to Healthline. This indicates the speed at which the kidneys clear waste out of the body. One common test is urinalysis, which is used to look for blood and protein in the urine. Infections or even an intense workout can elevate protein levels in the urine, so the doctor may have the test repeated a few weeks later to compare results if levels are high.

The serum creatinine test is used to look for the accrual of creatinine in the blood, explains Healthline. In healthy people, creatinine completely filters out of the bloodstream and ends up in the urine, as it is a waste product. However, if creatinine is making it into the bloodstream at levels above 1.3 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL, for men and 1.1 mg/dL for women, a kidney problem might be the reason.

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