Importance of Early Detection
Screening is essential for people considered to be at-risk of kidney disease. The early detection of kidney impairment is essential and allows suitable treatment before kidney damage or deterioration manifests itself through other complications.
Testing for Kidney Disease
Kidney diseases develop slowly and the symptoms only appear at a late stage when the patient already has kidney failure and may even need dialysis. Renal Replacement Therapy (RTT) requires major burdensome lifestyle changes for the patient and is extremely costly for any country’s healthcare system. A routine test of urine, blood and blood pressure can reassure or detect if there are any early signs of kidney problems. The needed laboratory tests are done on small samples of blood and urine. When your kidneys are damaged, proteins leaks into your urine.
A simple test can be done to detect protein in your urine. Persistent protein in the urine is an early sign of chronic kidney disease. Your doctor uses the results of your Serum Creatinine measured in the blood to calculate your overall kidney function, or Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) and your blood sugar to be sure you do not have diabetes.
- Serum Creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product in your blood that comes from muscle activity. It is normally removed from your blood by your kidneys, but when kidney function slows down, the creatinine level rises. Your doctor can use the results of your serum creatinine test to calculate your kidney function, or GFR.
- Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR): Your GFR tells how much total kidney function you have. It may be estimated from your blood level of creatinine. Normal is about 100 ml/min, so lower values indicate the percentage of normal kidney function which you have. If your GFR falls below 60 ml/min you will usually need to see a kidney disease specialist (called a nephrologist), If the treatment you receive from the nephrologist does not prevent a further reduction in GFR, your kidney doctor will speak to you about treatments for kidney failure like dialysis or kidney transplant. A GFR below 15 indicates that you may need to start one of these treatments soon.