Prevent Kidney Disease
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Cystatin C is a protein that is produced by the cells in your body. When kidneys are working well, they keep the level of cystatin C in your blood just right. If the level of cystatin C in your blood is too high, it may mean that your kidneys are not working well.
A blood test for cystatin C can help your healthcare provider find your GFR (glomerular filtration rate). Your GFR number helps your healthcare provider know how well your kidneys are working.
Your GFR tells a lot about how well your kidneys are working. Your kidneys are important. They filter our waste and extra water from your body, help make red blood cells, and keep your bones strong. If your GFR number is low, your kidneys may not be working as well as they should. This may be a sign of kidney disase.
Having a simple blood test for creatinine is the first step in checking your GFR. Creatinine is a waste product made by your body's muscles. Your kidneys usually keep the level of creatinine just right. The level of creatinine in your blood and your age, race, and gender are used in a math formula to estimate your GFR.
Another way to estimate GFR is with a simple blood test for cystatin C. Like creatinine, the cystatin C number is used in a math formula with your age, race, and gender to estimate your GFR. The cystatin C test is not the usual or regular way that your healthcare provider will estimate your GFR. But it can be very helpful in some instances.
A cystatin C blood test can be helpful if:
Yes. In addition to GFR, you should have a simple urine test called ACR. This tests checks for protein in your urine. Your body needs protein. But it should be in the blood, not the urine. Having a small amount of protein in your urine may mean that your kidneys are not filtering your blood well enough. This can be a sign of early kidney disease.
Yes. Finding and treating kidney disease early is important. With early treatment, it may be possible to keep kidney disease from getting worse.
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©2014 National Kidney Foundation. All rights reserved. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.