Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a growing public health concern in the United States. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), CKD affects more than 1 in 7 American adults.
If you have any of the risk factors for kidney disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, and/or family history, it is imperative that you see a doctor, particularly a nephrologist (kidney doctor), about getting screened for CKD. Early detection is crucial for ensuring timely intervention – and for ultimately maintaining your overall health and quality of life.
Below are the different laboratory tests that your kidney doctor may order prior to developing a treatment plan for you.
Tests to Diagnose and Monitor CKD
In addition to assessing your family and personal history, your kidney doctor may use the following types of tests to confirm a diagnosis:
- Blood test for GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) – This test checks how well your kidneys are filtering your blood. A GFR of 60 or more is considered normal. A GFR of less than 60 (15-59) signifies that you have kidney disease. A GFR below 15 is indicative of kidney failure and the necessity for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
The amount of creatinine in your blood – a waste product from the normal breakdown of muscles in your body – is what is used to measure your GFR. Normally, your kidneys remove creatinine from your blood. High levels of creatinine mean your kidneys aren’t functioning as they should.
- Urine test for albumin –This checks for amounts of albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein produced by your liver and excreted into your bloodstream, not your urine. Having high levels of albumin in your urine indicates that your kidneys are not able to filter it as they’re supposed to.
There are two ways your doctor checks for albuminuria:
- A urine sample is collected in a container for testing. Your doctor places a strip of chemically treated paper, referred to as a dipstick, into your urine. If the dipstick changes color, it indicates there is albumin in your urine.
- A urine-albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) test measures and compares the amount of albumin with the amount of creatinine in your urine. This enables your doctor to estimate how much albumin would pass into your urine during a 24-hour period.
A urine albumin result of 20 mg/g or less is considered normal. However, a result of more than 30 mg/g may indicate you have kidney disease.
If you test positive for albuminuria, your doctor may have you repeat the test to confirm the results before prescribing a specific treatment. If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, your doctor will likely use the same two tests to help monitor your condition and ensure your treatment is working.
Your physician may also use medical imaging (e.g., MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound) to assess the size and structure of your kidneys.
Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment in Dorchester, MA
If you’re in search of a reputable nephrology practice in Massachusetts, you’ve come to the right place. At Commonwealth Nephrology Associates, our board-certified and fellowship-trained kidney doctors are committed to providing comprehensive, personalized care to patients with CKD and other kidney-related conditions visit us.
To schedule a consultation with one of our kidney doctors, call (617) 739-2100 now. You may also submit an appointment request by filling out this form. We’re eager to serve you at one of our locations: in Norfolk, Natick, Dorchester, Framingham, or South Weymouth!