New York, NY (January 23, 2006) - It may be hard to believe that simple urine and blood tests can be life saving, but it's true.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are tests that can detect the presence of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition in which your kidneys are not functioning properly. Healthy kidneys filter and eliminate wastes and drugs from the body, balance the body's fluids, release hormones that regulate blood pressure, produce a form of vitamin D that promotes strong bones and control the production of red blood cells. CKD can also lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and anemia, and can be fatal if not caught and treated early enough.
Make sure that you have the following tests if you have risk factors for CKD such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, a family history of CKD or a personal or family history of protein and blood in the urine. Others who should be extra vigilant about having these tests are those age 60 and older and people in the African American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander ethnic groups; these groups are more susceptible to developing kidney disease than the population at large.
There are vital tests to take:
A urinalysis to check for blood in the urine (hematuria) or protein in the urine (proteinuria). These are signs that the kidneys are not filtering wastes properly and are being damaged. The main protein is likely to be found in the urine if there is a problem is called albumin. Since one positive test result for high protein in the urine may be due to causes other than CKD, your doctor will want to confirm your test over a period of several weeks. Blood in the urine can come from the kidneys but also may come from the lower urinary tract, including the bladder. Tests may be needed to tell the difference.
A separate urine test that's so sensitive it can pick up very small amounts of protein in the urine (microalbuminuria) may also be given to those at increased risk for CKD. A small amount of protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of CKD.
A check for your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which can be determined through a blood test for creatinine. A test for GFR is the most important test to determine how well your kidneys are filtering out and excreting wastes and excess fluids from your body. Your creatinine value and your age, race, body size and gender are used to calculate your GFR number. The normal GFR number for adults is more than 90 ml. per minute.
Your degree of kidney function and the stages of kidney disease you may have are largely determined by your GFR and are described as follows, according to the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI).
Stage 1: Description: kidney damage (such as blood or protein in the urine) and normal filtration rate GFR: more than 90
Stage 2: Description: kidney damage and mild decrease in filtration rate GFR: 60 to 89
Stage 3: Description: moderate decrease in filtration rate GFR: 30 to 59
Stage 4: Description: Severe decrease in filtration rate. GFR: 15 to 29
Stage 5: Description: kidney failure (dialysis or kidney transplantation needed) GFR: Less than 15
"If you or a family member are at increased risk, early detection through screenings can prevent chronic kidney disease from turning into kidney failure," says (spokesperson).
To find out about the free screenings through the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) call 800-622-9010 or log on to www.keeponline.org.