One indicator of kidney disease is your blood pressure. Because the kidneys are responsible for maintaining fluid volume, hypertension (high blood pressure) could be an indicator of kidney disease. This can also be a "which came first, the. chicken or the egg" situation because while kidney disease can cause high blood pressure, high blood pressure can also cause kidney disease.
A urinalysis is another available test which is commonly used in doctors offices to determine the presence and amount of protein, white blood cells, red blood cells, glucose and specific gravity in urine. Higher than normal levels of these components can indicate inadequate filtration of the kidneys, infection or dehydration.
Glomerular Filtration Rate or GFR is the flow rate of filtered fluid going through the kidneys. Any blood value above 60 is considered normal, while any value below 60 can be indicative of kidney disease.
The last two components are Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels. BUN is a waste product of protein which the liver produces. Creatinine is a broken down form of creatine, a muscle component. Abnormally high values of these two components are indicative of kidney disease but are not a reliable indicator during early onset of the disease. The kidneys must have reached 60 percent damage before these two tests are significantly affected.
As always I hope you know more about our subject after reading this article. Next week well wrap up our Nephrology trilogy of articles as we discuss dialysis.
Justin Glaze is an LPN and contributing columnist for the Walker County Messenger. He can be reached at 678-988-1011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.