How do you know how well your kidneys are working? In a sense, you can observe things like your urination habits. That includes how much you urinate and how often you do it. This can give you an overall sense about whether or not your kidneys are working properly. On the other hand, it’s also critical to get scientific tests done like the GFR test. The results can show whether or not you have a normal GFR. As always, it’s important to get screened for such conditions and screened regularly. This is especially important as you age since it’s more likely you’ll have health issues like kidney disease.
The GFR is one of the various ways for doctors to determine whether or not you have kidney disease. They’ll look for normal levels that are usually 90+. However, this figure can differ based on various factors like your age. In fact, it’s especially important to get screened for CKD and other kidney diseases when you’re a senior. That’s because they’re more common at this age and also tend to cause more health conditions as well. The sooner you’re diagnosed the sooner you can get treatments and that’s a good thing. As always, prevention is better than cure.
What Is CFR Test?
This stands for glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and is used to check kidney function. When we think about disease-detecting tests we usually think about ones for blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. These are critical for detecting things like heart disease, and future heart attacks or strokes.
However, in the case of chronic kidney disease (CKD), you should know about GFR tests. This can help to check about how well your kidneys are working and whether or not you have kidney disease.
The kidneys have a critical job of removing extra fluid and wastes from the blood. This produces the urine that you get rid of every day.
However, if things aren’t working right then they’re not able to filter your blood properly. This results in good stuff like proteins being removed and bad stuff like wastes staying in the blood. This is a double-whammy and can cause a world of health issues.
It’s important to note that the kidneys are actually quite efficient. Some people live their whole life with one kidney. Meanwhile, others donate one of their kidneys to people who need it.
That said, sometimes factors like age, genetics, diet, fitness, smoking, and stress can cause problems that result in kidney disease. It’s important to know when you have this disease.
A major benefit of the GFR test is sometimes there are no symptoms that the kidneys aren’t working right. This results in no symptoms like pain or discomfort showing that you have CKD.
This changes during the late stages. That’s when people might have symptoms like swelling, lower appetite, high blood pressure, vomiting, and nausea.
That’s why it’s critical to get tests like GFR run if you think you might have kidney disease. Early detection can be important to get treatment and keep the disease under control. Meanwhile, if you delay getting screened it can cause the condition to become much worse.
What’s Normal GFR?
When you get your GFR results you’ll want to know whether or not your level is high or low. Keep in mind, in this case, the higher your score is the better. It’s important to know the average GFR score so you can compare it with yours.
The general normal score is 90+. Keep in mind this is the average and, in some cases, the normal range is different. For example, there are cases when 60 to 89 are actually normal scores for people. The scores are lower than average but they sometimes don’t mean that a person is at a higher risk of kidney disease.
It’s important to know about the test results you get. The GFR results get reported as milliliters/minute/1.73m2. If you have a 90+ score then your kidneys are functioning well. The higher the score the better the functionality is.
One thing to keep in mind is the test results’ numbers are only reported when the figure is below 60. This is a red flag because of this even accounts for people having a normally lower GFR score. However, when it drops that low it’s a sign that someone might have CKD.
The doctor will likely conduct retest(s) during the next several months. In the case the person has two results under 60 then the doctor will likely diagnose the patient as having kidney disease.
One factor to keep in mind is that various factors can actually affect GFR. So sometimes a lower score is actually a blip on the radar. If the next two tests are 60+ then it’s a sign the patient likely doesn’t have CKD.
A <60 result shows that kidney damage has already happened. In fact, it should be noted that some kidney damage can even exist if a person has a 90+ score. In this case, other tests and symptoms might point to such damage.
How to Boost Kidney Health
If you want to improve your kidney’s health here are some tips:
Get tested for CKD
This is important and you have several options. They include GFR and other tests. Some examples are for blood pressure, creatinine (a waste product) in blood, and protein in the urine. These tests can help to determine whether or not you have kidney disease.
Learn the symptoms
This is another important step to take since you’ll be able to recognize 1+ symptoms of the disease. Some of the most common ones include:
- Frequent thirst
- Foamy urine
- Dark urine
- Painful urination
After you learn these signs it’s important to watch out for them. If you have them for a long time or multiple symptoms then there’s a greater chance you have CKD. Make sure you’re also tested ASAP.
Evaluate your risk
There are various risk factors related to CKD. They include ones that you can’t affect like age, race, and genetics. These are still critical issues to know about so you’ll know whether or not you’re at risk.
Then there are other factors that you have control over. They include diet, exercise, stress, sleep, smoking/alcohol, etc. Making some basic lifestyle tweaks can help to significantly reduce your chance of kidney disease.
Take note that wild cards are factors like age and genetics. Even if live a healthy lifestyle there’s still a chance you could acquire CKD due to such factors.
Do your homework
This is a critical step if you want to boost your kidney function and help prevent CKD. Make sure to research what kidneys do, major diseases, common symptoms, and so on.
The Internet makes it easier than ever to learn more information. It’s just a matter of doing the research so you’ll know what to expect like learning normal GFR.