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Know Your Kidney Numbers: Two Simple Tests

Did you know one in three American adults is at risk for kidney disease? Anyone can get kidney disease at any time. If kidney disease is found and treated early, you can help slow or even stop it from getting worse. Most people with early kidney disease do not have symptoms. That is why it is important to be tested. Know your kidney numbers!

Two tests

Two simple tests can help determine your kidney function:

  1. Urine test called ACR (Albumin to Creatinine Ratio): ACR stands for “albumin-to-creatinine ratio.” It tests your urine for albumin, a type of protein. Your body needs protein. But it should be in the blood, not the urine. Having protein in your urine may mean that your kidneys are not filtering your blood well enough. Too much albumin in your urine is an early sign of kidney damage and can be a sign of early kidney disease. If your urine test comes back “positive” for protein, the test should be repeated to confirm the results. Three positive results over three months or more is a sign of kidney disease.
  2. Blood test to estimate your GFR (glomerular filtration rate). GFR is a measure of kidney function and can determine if you have kidney disease and what stage you’re at. To find the GFR, healthcare professionals will test your blood for a waste product called creatinine. Creatinine comes from muscle tissue. When the kidneys are damaged, they have trouble removing creatinine from your blood. Testing for creatinine is only the first step. Next, your creatinine result is used in a math formula to find out your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Check with your doctor about having a GFR test. Use the new eGFR calculator


Here are some tips for talking with your doctor about your kidney health at your annual physical.

Kidney Numbers and the CKD Heat Map

Click here to download a printable resource that describes the kidney numbers that everyone should know and how your doctor uses them to diagnose chronic kidney disease (CKD).  You will also learn how the kidney numbers fit onto the CKD Heat Map, which helps to guide your treatment plan.

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