If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to chronic renal failure. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your doctor.
- Not sleeping well
- Less desire to eat than usual
- Shortness of breath
- Altered taste
- Altered mental state
The most reliable way to measure kidney disease is by testing for glomerular filtration rate—the speed at which blood enters, is cleaned, and then leaves the kidney. A rate of less than 60 milliliters every minute over three months indicates chronic kidney disease.
A blood test for levels of creatine is a part of calculating the filtration rate. Creatinine is an acid that promotes muscle growth. When the kidney is not working effectively, the amount of creatinine in the blood increases. Other commonly ordered tests include calcium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, potassium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and bicarbonate.
A doctor also will test for protein in the urine, particularly for a protein called albumin, and ask questions about personal and health histories to determine if there are any other causes for the results of the blood and urine tests.
Your doctor may order an ultrasound of the kidney.
Patients who are already at high risk for kidney disease should be tested more frequently so any damage can be diagnosed early. Patients with kidney disease will be referred to a specialist called a nephrologist, who is dedicated to managing kidney diseases. On rare occasion, a kidney biopsy is done.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.