One of the amazing organs we have in our body is the kidney. This organ always blows our mind away with the job it does. We keep asking, how can as small bean-like shaped organ do so much in the body? Because of its vitality, so many tests are been ordered by doctors just to check how the kidneys are doing. And one of the tests is the GFR test. This checks for your GFR range. With the range, your doctor would be able to tell a whole lot of things.
GFR stands for glomerular filtration rate. And this is a test that is done to check for the function of the kidney. That’s why it’s known as one of the kidney function tests. Anyway, it helps check the amount of blood that passes through the glomeruli at every minute. Glomeruli are actually small filters in the kidneys. These filters help filter waste. Well, so you can tell that an abnormal result would most likely mean a problem with the kidneys.
What is Glomerular Filtration Range Test?
The kidney is one of the major organs in the body. And it helps out with filtering waste such as creatinine and urea. But there are times that there is either a problem with the kidney or its surrounding structures. And this could lead to the presence of waste products in our urine.
A glomerular filtration rate test is one of the kidney function tests that is done. It helps check if the glomeruli in the kidney are still functioning properly. Glomeruli are small little filters that do the job of filtering. If the glomeruli are affected then the kidney function is also affected.
For this test, a blood sample is actually used. So your blood would be extracted and then sent to the lab. The extraction may be a bit painful but the pain wouldn’t last long. And also there might just be a slight bruise or reddening of the spot of extraction. Most times it’s not more than that.
In the lab, the amount of creatinine in your blood is measured. Creatinine, as mentioned earlier, is one of the wastes that the kidney filters.
After checking for the creatinine levels the lab scientist would use it and other factors to determine GFR. Actually, there are different formulas used for calculating GFR in adults and children. The formula used can include all these or some of them:
- Blood creatinine measurement
Before the test is done your doctor might request that you stop taking any medications for a while. After the test, you can continue with your medications. Some of the medications include antibiotics and also stomach acid medicines.
The important thing is telling your doctor about all the drugs you are taking. Also, if you’re pregnant tell your doctor before doing the test. GFR result is usually affected by pregnancy.
Why Do You Need The Test?
Well, some doctors would order for GFR test as part of your routine check-up. Especially if you’re at high risk of having kidney disease. But this does not happen most times. One reason why your doctor would order for a GFR test to be done is if there is a suspected case of kidney disease.
If you present symptoms related to kidney disease your doctor would order for a GFR test. Symptoms include foamy urine, mid-back pain, unexplained body swelling and also difficulty in urinating.
Another reason why your doctor would order a GFR test is to check if your kidney is still functioning well. There are medications that could be harmful to your kidney. And to be safe your doctor would constantly do kidney functions tests just to check if there’s no problem. That way if there is any problem with your kidney there can be early intervention.
There are also other medical conditions that would warrant a GFR test. Here’s a list of those health conditions:
- Kidney failure
- Heart disease
- Kidney stones
- Chronic urinary tract infection
- Polycystic kidney disease
Also, if you have a family history of kidney disease your doctor might request for this test from time to time. That way your doctor would be able to monitor how well your kidney is functioning.
GFR Range: Interpretation of Results
The result of your GFR test would help the doctor in diagnosing. But this doesn’t mean that only a GFR test is needed. There are other kidney function tests that must be done to help confirm that the patient has kidney disease.
The test result is actually gotten by calculation. As stated about the creatinine level is used and a few other factors. That’s the reason why they say GFR test is actually an indirect measurement of how well the kidneys are functioning.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the lower the results the more damage has been done to your kidney. So your doctor can determine how bad the damage to your kidney is by checking the GFR test result.
Older people are known to have lower GFR levels. That’s because GFR values decrease with age. The normal values of GFR may vary a little from place to place. That’s because different labs have different measurements. But the difference isn’t so wide. Normal GFR range is 90-120 ml/min/1.73m2.
So there are different stages of kidney damage. These are the stages:
- Stage 1: In this stage there very little or no damage is done to the kidneys. GFR is 90 and above.
- Stage 2: there is mild loss of kidney function. GFR is between 60-89.
- Stage 3: There is a moderate loss of function of the kidney. GFR is between 30-59.
- Stage 4: Severe damage to the kidney. GFR is between 15-29.
- Stage 5: Kidney failure and GFR is 15 and below.
Once your doctor is able to determine how severe or mild your case is then treatment can follow. The severity of kidney disease would determine the intervention. For some just dialysis is needed for the time being. While for some immediate kidney transplant is needed. So doctors can now treat different patients with different kidney disease stages effectively all thanks to GFR range.