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To test your kidney function, your doctor will order a set of tests that can estimate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Your GFR tells your doctor how quickly your kidneys are clearing waste from your body.
A urinalysis screens for the presence of protein and blood in the urine. There are many possible reasons for protein in your urine, not all of which are related to disease. Infection increases urine protein, but so does a heavy physical workout. Your doctor may want to repeat this test after a few weeks to see if the results are similar.
Your doctor may also ask you to provide a 24-hour urine collection sample. This can help doctors see how fast a waste product called creatinine is clearing from your body. Creatinine is a breakdown product of muscle tissue.
This blood test examines whether creatinine is building up in your blood. The kidneys usually completely filter creatinine from the blood. A high level of creatinine suggests a kidney problem.
According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), a creatinine level higher than 1.2 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) for women and 1.4 mg/dL for men is a sign of a kidney problem.
The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test also checks for waste products in your blood. BUN tests measure the amount of nitrogen in the blood. Urea nitrogen is a breakdown product of protein.
However, not all elevated BUN tests are due to kidney damage. Common medications, including large doses of aspirin and some types of antibiotics, can also increase your BUN. It’s important to tell your doctor about any medications or supplements that you take regularly. You may need to stop certain drugs for a few days before the test.
A normal BUN level is between 7 and 20 mg/dL. A higher value could suggest several different health problems.
This test estimates how well your kidneys are filtering waste. The test determines the rate by looking at factors, such as:
Any result lower than 60 milliliters/minute/1.73m2 may be a warning sign of kidney disease.