The kidney filters the blood, balances electrolytes and water, stabilizes blood pressure, and provides many other life-sustaining functions. A damaged kidney doesn’t function fully and may not produce enough erythropoietin (EPO) to maintain good red blood cells.
Left untreated, chronic kidney problems can lead to complications such as high levels of the harmful protein albumin in the bloodstream. A variety of kidney function tests (KFTs) can be performed to assess how well the kidneys are functioning.
The most common KFT test is the creatinine test, which measures the level of creatinine in the blood. Other KFTs include:
- The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test.
- The urinary protein test.
- The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) test.
Which is the most accurate test for kidney function?
The creatinine test is used to estimate kidney function because creatinine is produced by muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. A high level of creatinine in the blood may indicate that the kidneys cannot remove it from the body efficiently, which may be a sign of kidney damage or disease.
Urea is produced when proteins are broken down and excreted by the kidneys. The BUN test essentially measures the level of nitrogen in the blood. A high BUN level may indicate kidney damage or disease because the kidneys cannot remove urea from the blood efficiently.
The urinary protein test measures the amount of protein in the urine. Protein in the urine may indeed signify kidney damage or disease because it indicates that proteins are leaking through damaged kidneys into the urine.
How often should you get a KFT test?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should get a KFT test. The testing frequency may differ for each person, depending on their risk factors for kidney disease. Some people may need the test every year, while others may only need it every few years.
If you have any risk factors for kidney disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, your doctor will likely recommend getting a KFT test at least once a year. If you currently have chronic kidney disease, your doctor will likely recommend more frequent testing to monitor your condition.
Kidney issues are a significant problem worldwide, with over 1.7 million people dying yearly from kidney-related diseases. That’s nearly 3% of all deaths globally, making kidney disease the 8th leading cause of death worldwide. Most of these deaths are due to chronic kidney disease (CKD), a long-term condition that slowly worsens over time.
CKD is responsible for about 1.6 million deaths yearly, or nearly 3% of all deaths globally. High blood pressure and diabetes are essentially the two most common causes of CKD, and both are on the rise worldwide. The number of people with diabetes has tripled since 1980, and it is now estimated that nearly one in ten adults have the disease.
As the global population continues to grow consistently and age, the number of people with kidney disease is expected to rise. This is a significant concern as kidney disease can lead to several other health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
Getting treatment early to prevent these complications is important if you have kidney disease. There are indeed several treatments available, including medication and dialysis. It would be best if you talked to your doctor about the best treatment option.
Risk factors that increase the need for more frequent testing
- Age – your kidneys tend to become less efficient at filtering toxins and wastes from the blood as you age.
- Obesity – excess body fat can lead to inflammation and kidney damage.
- Diabetes – this chronic condition increases kidney damage and failure risk.
- High blood pressure – uncontrolled hypertension can damage the kidney’s filters and lead to scarring.
- Family history of kidney disease – having a close relative with kidney disease puts you at greater risk for developing the condition.
Kidney Function Tests (KFTs) are essential for determining how well your kidneys function. They can also help identify any potential problems with your kidney function. KFT test costs usually range between $100 and $200, depending on the specific test performed.
Understanding the KFT is essential for anyone experiencing kidney issues. The test can provide great insight into how the kidneys function and whether any disease impacts them.