Two Simple Tests To Check for Kidney Disease

More than 26 million Americans-one in nine adults-have kidney disease. Millions more are at increased risk for getting it, and most don't know it. Kidney disease can be found and treated early to prevent more serious kidney disease and other complications.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recommends two simple tests to check for kidney disease:

Albuminuria-to-creatinine ratio (ACR). Albuminuria occurs when there are higher amounts of a type of protein called albumin in the urine, It is a common marker of kidney damage. The ratio of albumin-to-creatinine is recommended as the best method to determine albuminuria. All patients with CKD should be tested for albuminuria at least annually. You should also get tested if you are at risk for kidney disease (have diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney failure). For more on albuminuria click here.

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR is estimated from results of a blood-based creatinine test. It is an indication of how well your kidneys are working to remove wastes from your blood. GFR is calculated using the serum creatinine and other factors such as age and gender. In the early stages of kidney disease GFR may be normal. A GFR number of less than 60 is low and may mean that you have kidney disease. Check with your doctor about having the GFR test. If you are at increased risk for kidney disease (have diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney failure), you should find out if you have kidney disease. They should be done at least once a year so that if you have early kidney disease, it can be treated right away. Early kidney disease can and should be treated to keep it from getting worse! To learn more about GFR click here.