Kidney Function Test: Purpose and Results

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Kidneys are responsible for filtering out the waste from your blood and pass it out as urine. When kidneys are not functioning correctly, there are chances that the wastes are retained in the body causing harm to you. Even worse, kidneys may sometimes flush out the proteins that are necessary for your body. For this reason, it is essential to get your kidneys tested regularly. 

Kidney Function Test

Malfunctioning kidneys can be detected using the kidney function test. This test has many procedures involved that can detect different types of defects in the kidney. When your doctor detects a problem in your kidneys, they may suggest you take the kidney functions test. However, taking a regular test may help you keep track of your kidneys’ health and functionality. 

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Problems You Should Know

When your kidneys fail to filter out the wastes, the toxic substances accumulate in your body leading to symptoms of kidney problems. You can look out for these signs and symptoms to know when you need to take up a kidney function test.  

  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Painful urination
  • Decreased urine outputs
  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Fluid buildup in the body resulting in swollen hands and feet
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • In severe cases, coma or seizures

Importance of Kidney Function Test

Kidneys are part of your urinary tract. Located on the posterior part of your abdomen, kidneys are almost the size of a human fist. In addition to filtering out the wastes from your body, kidneys also help you in maintaining a healthy body water and mineral levels. They also help in the production of vitamin D, hormones that regulate blood pressure and red blood cells.

When your kidneys malfunction, you start experiencing a lot of trouble. So, detecting problematic kidneys as soon as possible with a kidney function test may help you avoid such circumstances. During this test, a doctor will conduct simple urine and blood test for kidney function to detect any unforeseen problems in your kidneys.

Doctors generally recommend people with a higher risk of kidney issues to get a regular test done. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says people at high risk include those with diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of kidney problems and heart disease.

What are the Different Types of Kidney Function Test?

There are seven types of kidney function test that helps your doctor measure various parameters related to your kidney. Based on the results, your doctor will know where the problem lies and how to treat it. Check out the below list of tests that are done to understand your kidneys functionality.

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
  • Serum Creatinine
  • Serum Uric Acid
  • Serum Sodium
  • Serum Potassium
  • Chloride 
  • Total Protein

What Could a Kidney Function Test Result Mean?

Every test is interpreted differently. Based on each test result, your doctor may require you to take certain medications to heal. Learn about kidney function test normal values and how they are interpreted in the table given below. 

Test Purpose Normal Values Interpretation
Blood Urea Nitrogen  This test measures the BUN level in your urine. Urea is the end product of protein breakdown reaction. This is passed out as waste in the urine.  The normal BUN level in any healthy child or adult is 7 – 20 mg/dL. Lower BUN level indicates low consumption of protein. A high level could indicate an abnormal kidney function. Other reasons for high BUN level are heart failure or bleeding in the gut.
Serum Creatinine Creatinine is produced by muscle movements. More the muscle mass, more creatinine is produced. A healthy kidney removes creatinine present in the blood. Kidney function blood test is conducted to check creatinine levels.  As the body muscle mass differs in each gender, for women, the creatinine level will be 0.6 – 1.1 mg/dL and that of men is 0.7 – 1.3 mg/dL. High level of creatinine indicates that your kidneys are unable to remove them from your blood. This indicates kidney problems. 
Serum Uric Acid Uric acid is produced and released to our blood when we digest food containing purines. Most of it is dissolved in the blood to be filtered and thrown out through the kidney. It differs in both men and women. It is 2.4 – 6.0 mg/dL in females and 3.4 – 7.0 mg/dL in males. High level of uric acid could mean you are suffering from gout or cancer due to increased cell death. On the other hand, lower level signifies kidney or liver defect.
Serum Sodium This test checks the amount of sodium available in your blood. It is an important component for your muscle and nerve function. Your body rejects sodium through urine to keep it balanced. The normal level of sodium in the blood should be 135 to 145 mEq/L. Abnormally low or high levels of sodium could mean your kidney is damaged. 
Serum Potassium This test checks for the potassium content in your blood. Your body needs potassium in a certain amount for optimum nerve and muscle function. The healthy potassium level differs with age. It is 3.5 – 5.1 mEq/L in case of adults. For children, it is 3.4 – 4.7 mEq/L. If the potassium level is abnormally high in the blood, then you can be sure that the kidney is not functioning correctly.
Chloride  Chloride is the strongest electrolyte present in our body responsible for managing the fluid, acid and base balance.  The healthy chloride level that is required for optimum functioning is 98 – 106 mEq/L.  Abnormally high or low levels of chlorine suggest renal disease. 
Total Protein Albumin and globulin are the most important protein our body needs. While albumin keeps our blood vessels intact, globulin keeps our immune system working. This test checks the total number of these proteins present in our body. The total protein count in our body should be 6 – 8.3 g/dL for normal functioning.  Abnormally low levels of protein would indicate that your kidney is defective and has passed out a lot of proteins.

Want an Easy Kidney Function Test Done? 

It can be hard for most patients to walk to and fro to a diagnostic centre for lab test when they are suffering from an ailment. So, it is a blessing when you have lab specialists coming to your home to collect the samples for free. This is the kind of service you get when you trust Medlife. Book a kidney function lab test at home today and take advantage of the convenience you get at an affordable price.

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