Have you been tested for chronic kidney disease (CKD)? One important test is for a person’s glomerular filtration rate (GFR). This is a critical test to help determine how well your kidneys are working. You can also find out the stage of kidney diseases you’re at. Studies show that 10% of men and 12% of women throughout the world suffer from kidney disease. This highlights the importance of tests like GFR. The kidneys’ job is to filter blood so if they’re not working properly this figure will be higher than normal. This test is generally a good one but sometimes it’s not a practical one.
You should also know the range you should be in based on different factors. One of the most critical ones is your age. It’s normal for people’s kidneys to work less effectively as we get older. Like other body parts, it’s normal for the kidneys to work less effectively. On the other hand, it’s still important for the GFR range, for example, to be within the normal range based on your age. If that’s the case then your kidneys are working well for your age group. If not, then your kidneys aren’t functioning properly and you might need treatments.
What Is GFR?
This is a rate is a number that’s based on a blood test for creatinine. It’s a waste product found in the blood. The GFR number is a snapshot of how well your kidneys are functioning.
Your doctor can determine whether or not your GFR results are “normal.” This is based on factors like your age, gender, and ethnicity.
A general guideline is a GFR 60+ is “normal.” Your doctor can provide guidelines about when your next test should be and if other tests should be run.
There are various tests that can be run to check for kidney disease. They include blood, urine, and blood sugar tests.
This test isn’t always a good option. For example, it’s not very accurate in certain situations. They include obese and very muscular people, pregnant women, and kids under 18 years old.
As always best to talk to your doctor before taking this test. He/She can help to determine whether or not it’s a good option for you. If not, then there are other options to consider.
Sometimes you’ll need to be rested in a couple of months if your test results were below 60. In that case, your doctor will want to see whether or not your GFR is still 60+ after at least three months. Your doctor can explain when you should be retested.
In the case your score is under 60 you can also make some basic lifestyle changes. This can include factors like diet, exercise, alcohol/tobacco, and stress. Sometimes some basic steps can help to protect your kidneys.
Your doctor might also recommend certain medications. There are many prescription meds available that can help to improve your kidneys’ function. Kidneys are very efficient but it’s still important to take care of them like the body’s other vital organs. Medications are one option.
Normal GFR Levels for Different Ages
When you get your GFR it’s important to factor in your age. It’s normal for kidneys to function well effectively as we age. However, the GFR should still be within the normal range for your age.
In fact, you should also consider the normal ranges for other factors. They include ones like gender and others. Here are the averages for different ages:
- 18-24: 100
- 25-29: 93
- 30-34: 86
- 35-39: 85
- 40-44: 84
- 45-49: 83
- 50-54: 79
- 55-59: 76
- 60-64: 75
- 65-69: 75
- 70-74: 71
- 75-79: 70
- 80-84: 67
- 85+: 62
It’s important to note that these are averages. The GFR levels can sometimes be up to 15 points higher or lower but it gives you a baseline to start out with.
Make sure to learn the different stages of CKD. These figures are only for people in stages 3, 4, or 5. This is critical because these are the most critical stages.
There are also many kidney disease symptoms that are age-related. Here are some of the main ones to watch out for:
- High Blood Pressure: This can boost the chance of various problems like stroke, heart attack, and even result in kidney damage.
- Diabetes: This is one of the top causes of kidney diseases. This can involve damage to nerves and blood vessels and even when the disease is managed well.
- Urinary Incontinence: This is a fancy name that means there’s urine leaking from your bladder. This can boost the chance of UTI.
- Swelling/inflammation: This can be caused by different conditions so it’s important to watch out for it.
- Urinary Tract Infections: If UTI isn’t treated it can spread to your kidneys. If you think you have a kidney infection it’s important to get it checked out. If it’s not treated you can experience long-term damage.
Tips to Lower GFR Levels
If you want to boost your kidneys’ function here are some helpful tips:
1. Stay active
It’s important to stay fit for different reasons. One benefit is it can help reduce your risk of CDK. You can do some basic exercises like jogging, cycling, or just plain walking.
What does exercise have to do with your kidneys? Being fit and active can help reduce your blood pressure. That, in turn, can lower your chance of CKD.
2. Track blood pressure
It’s no secret that blood pressure can cause heart attacks and strokes. However, it can also lead to kidney disease.
If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89 then you should definitely consider changing your diet and lifestyle. There’s a greater chance of CKD when combined with other factors like high choleretic and heart disease.
3. Eat healthily
Make sure you’re eating enough lean meats, whole grains, veggies, and fruits. It’s also important to reduce your salt intake
4. Drink more water
Make sure you’re getting at least 3-4 pints (1.5-2 liters) of H2O every day. This can help to keep your kidneys free of stuff like sodium and toxins.
5. Reduce OTC meds
Studies show that taking meds regularly like Advil can lead to kidney disease. Try to minimize such meds.
6. Don’t’ smoke
There are various reasons. Studies show smoking boosts the risk of kidney cancer by around 50%.
7. Watch your blood sugar
You should also try to keep your blood sugar levels under control. In fact, about 50% of people with diabetes also experience kidney damage over time. If you have diabetes it’s critical to get your kidneys checked out.
Your doctor can help to prescribe meds that can help to keep your blood sugar under control. You can also reduce your sugar intake to help achieve normal GFR levels.