Kidney function blood tests, also known as renal function tests, are a group of laboratory tests that assess the health and functioning of the kidneys. These tests help evaluate how well the kidneys are filtering waste products from the blood, maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, and producing hormones. Here are some common kidney function blood tests:
- Blood urea: Blood urea measures the amount of nitrogen in your blood that comes from the waste product urea. Urea is produced in the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Elevated urea levels may indicate impaired kidney function, dehydration, or other factors such as bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Serum Creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product generated from muscle metabolism and excreted by the kidneys. Creatinine levels in the blood provide an estimate of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is a measure of kidney function. Higher levels of serum creatinine generally indicate decreased kidney function.
- Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR): eGFR is a calculated value that estimates the GFR based on serum creatinine levels, age, sex, and other factors. It is used to assess overall kidney function and categorize it into different stages, ranging from normal to severe kidney disease.
- Serum Electrolytes: Kidneys play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate) in the body. Abnormal levels of these electrolytes in the blood may indicate kidney dysfunction.
- Urine Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (ACR): This test measures the amount of albumin (a protein) relative to creatinine in the urine. It helps detect and monitor the presence of kidney damage, particularly in conditions such as diabetes or hypertension.
- Urine Analysis: A routine urine test may be conducted to check for the presence of blood, protein, or other abnormalities that may indicate kidney problems.
It’s important to note that these blood tests provide valuable information about kidney function, but they do not provide a definitive diagnosis. If abnormalities are detected, further evaluation and diagnostic tests may be required to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. If you have concerns about your kidney health, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional who can interpret the test results and provide personalised advice.