GFR: What is the Normal Range?

GFR: What is the Normal Range?

July 18, 2019

If you have kidney issues then you should know about the something called the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Research shows that 10% of the world’s population suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD). There are various tests for people with kidney disease but this is certainly one of the most critical ones. So, it’s important to know what the test is about and things like GFR normal range. The kidneys are important for making urine by removing waste products from the blood. Health conditions like kidney disease prevent the bean-shaped organs from working effectively. It’s important to first get tested to find out if you have kidney disease.

If you’ve been diagnosed with kidney disease that’s just the beginning. It’s then a matter of monitoring the disease so you can get the best treatment possible. GFR is one of the different tests that can help do that. Different tests have different types of results. Like school tests in this case the higher the number the better. It shows that your kidneys are functioning better. This is critical because your doctor can then pick the best type of treatment for you. After being diagnosed with kidney disease it’s important to monitor and treat it effectively to maintain your health.


What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?

CKD is a condition that shows your kidneys are damaged and aren’t able to filter your blood the way they should. The “chronic” in the name means that the damage has been slow and long-term. CKD can cause different health problems including a buildup of waste in the body.

The main job of the kidney is to filter wastes and extra water from the blood to produce urine. They also help to balance different minerals that travel in the blood like sodium, potassium, and calcium. The kidneys also produce hormones that are related to things like blood pressure, red blood cells, and strong bones.

If you have kidney disease then it’s important to get diagnosed as soon as possible. You can then make tweaks to your lifestyle in order to safeguard the kidneys.

CKD is very common among adults in certain countries. For example, 30+ million US adults might have kidney disease. There are various risk factors including:

Other risk factors include age, ethnicity, and family history. Unfortunately, you can’t affect these risk factors but they’re worth factoring in to determine your chance of suffering from CKD.

In terms of symptoms, early CKD might not even show any symptoms. The irony is this is greatly due to the organs being super-efficient in doing their job to keep us healthy.

Here are some examples. Some people are born with one kidney and don’t have any issues their entire life. Meanwhile, others donate a kidney and stay healthy. The irony is sometimes you have kidney damage but the organs are working so well you don’t feel ill.

The only real way to know for certain if you have CKD and other kidney diseases is to get tested through blood/urine tests. This will provide solid proof about whether or not you’re suffering from such illnesses.


What’s the GFR Test?

The situation changes during the later stages of CKD. Patients might have symptoms like swelling because the kidneys are unable to rid themselves of extra fluid/salt. You can experience these symptoms in body parts like the face, hands, legs, ankles, and feet.


Here are some CKD symptoms to watch out for:

  • Dry skin
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of focus
  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness/Numbness
  • Sleep issues
  • Muscle cramps


One of the main tests to determine the effects of CKD is something called GFR. This test measures your stage of kidney disease and checks the level of kidney function. There are different factors that are used to calculate GFR including a blood test, gender, and body size.

Doctors use this information to determine the best treatment for you. A higher GFR shows your kidneys are working well while a lower number shows that the organs aren’t working properly.


Here are the different CKD stages and the GFR scores:

     Stage                 Kidney function              GFR

  • 1                            Normal                       90+
  • 2                          Mild loss                     60-89
  • 3a               Mild/moderate loss         45-59
  • 3b              Moderate/severe loss        30-44
  • 4                       Severe loss                     15-29
  • 5                     Kidney failure                   14-


How do you know if you have chronic kidney disease? If your GFR is 60- for 1+ months or GFR is 60+ with kidney damage these signs show that you have CKD.

It’s important to note that in this case, GFR is just the first step. Your doctor will order more tests to find out the root cause of the disease. This, in turn, will help to pick the right treatment for your needs.

Other tests the doctor will likely want to be done include a urine test to inspect it for blood and/or a kind of protein. When there’s blood protein in the blood this is a red flag for kidney failure and something to watch out for.


GFR Normal Range and CKD Maintenance

In terms of normal GFR numbers, it depends on your age. Here are some of them:

Age               Average GFR

  • 20-29      –      116  
  • 30-39      –      107
  • 40-49      –       99
  • 50-59      –       93
  • 60-69      –      85     
  • 70+         –      75


These ranges can give you a snapshot of whether or not you’re on track for your age range. The goal should be to maintain an under-average GFR for your age when possible. You can take some basic steps.

If you’ve been diagnosed with CKD then it’s important to take steps to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible. Here are some helpful tips:

1. Eat kidney-friendly foods

Make sure you’re eating a healthy/balanced diet. This includes lean meats like fatty fish and skinless chicken. Eat lots of whole grains, veggies, and fruits. Try to minimize trans/saturated fats like fried foods, junk food, and egg yolks. Other good options are olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

2. Get GFR-tested

It’s important to get this test done from time to time. After being diagnosed with CKD it’s critical for the doctor to monitor your disease’s stages. GFR and other tests are a quick and easy way to do that.

3. Quit smoking

There are many studies that have linked smoking to kidney/heart disease. It can cause problems like hardening of the kidneys.

4. Lower your blood sugar

This can benefit your kidneys as well as your heart, eyes, and nerves. The most obvious source is white sugar but you should also watch out for “hidden sugar” in foods that are surprisingly high in the stuff.

5. Reduce “bad” cholesterol

Some good options include olive oil, fatty fish, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

6. Increase physical activity

This can include your job tasks, gym workouts, or household chores. This can provide several benefits for your kidneys, heart, etc. Some extra benefits are it can help you lose weight, boost your “feel good” hormones, and stay within GFR normal range.

GFR: What is the Normal Range?