What Is BUN And What Does It Measure

What Is BUN And What Does It Measure?

June 20, 2019

What does BUN measure?

The kidney is an intricate organ, but with proper care and by eating a kidney-friendly diet, everything about the organ will be working out well; especially when it comes to its regular functions which involve the important filtering of blood and ridding of toxins at the same time. Although it may look like kidney maintenance is simple, there are actually a lot of people suffering from kidney issues. We must be aware of cases like this because when it comes to diseases related to kidney, most of them are known to be life-threatening and severe.

There are different issues that can occur to the kidneys, and there are also ways to determine which is which by the use of a wide range of tests and diagnostic equipment. Specifically, there is a test that is conducted by specialists if someone wants to know the state of their kidneys – it is called the BUN test. And before talking about the specifics and the things we need to know about the BUN and what it measures, let’s first divulge ourselves to the affected organ which is the kidneys.


Kidneys: The Wonders of an Organ

If not for the kidneys, are we even still gonna be alive? No, that is how important the kidneys are; that once they start malfunctioning or completely stop operating, the death of the individual is highly possible. So, what do we have to know about kidneys in order for us to properly take care of them and avoid complications?

When described, kidneys are usually known as the bean-shaped pair of organ that leads the renal system of the body. Their main function is by filtering the wastes from all over the body and then transferring them into urine so they can be excreted since they are full of toxic substances. Also, the organ pair contributes a lot to our blood and the circulatory system because it filters it too; which makes it additionally more important as an organ.

Other than the mentioned, there are other vital functions that the kidneys must achieve and do properly, they are:

  • It is the main organ that maintains the balance of fluids in the body, and the scope of this function is applicable to the overall body fluid of an individual.
  • Minerals that are transferred to the blood are regulated and filtered by the kidneys.
  • Since not everything we consume are made up of one hundred percent safe compounds and substances, the kidney is responsible for filtering the unwanted substance that we may have gotten from food, medication, or just plainly toxic substances that were developed inside the body.
  • Although the kidney is best known for filtering and regulating waste materials in the body, it also contributes to the production of hormones that are needed in making red blood cells. It is not only limited to that, but it also aids in the production of many other hormones that are important for bone health and regulation of blood pressure.

Urine is known as the waste product produced by the filtering function of the kidney. The urine is actually where a substance called urea can be found; which is also found in the blood where it originally comes from, and this urea is usually what is needed in diagnostic tests like the blood urea nitrogen test or BUN for it to work and show results regarding the kidneys.


What is Urea?

Urea may be simplified as a waste compound that starts from the blood and then when it is finally cleared by the kidney and transferred to the urine, it is then called as the urea. Urea contains nitrogen, and high blood levels of urea are the best indicator to monitor if the kidneys’ functioning has issues. It is the blood urea nitrogen test that measures the level of urea, and after the procedure, the result will be able to provide answers as to how the present condition of the kidneys are.


Blood Urea Nitrogen or BUN

Now, what does BUN measure?

BUN is also considered as a blood test, but the focus of this test is the result that shows how well the kidneys are currently functioning. What the BUN test measures are the urea nitrogen that is first contained in the blood. Also, the level of urea nitrogen that is measured by the BUN test can be an indicator for liver problems too.

The relevance of the BUN test for health purposes

Usually, it will be the doctor who will suggest for a BUN test to be conducted, and there are different reasons why it must be done.

  • The doctor has seen potential damage in your kidneys and they need the test to confirm whether the initial diagnosis is right or wrong.
  • The kidneys are in need of an evaluation to see if it is functioning properly.
  • For patients who are undergoing peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis, it can be used to check the status of the procedure if it is working effectively.
  • It may be conducted as a part of a blood test group which is needed to determine different conditions that may not be directly related to kidneys like gastrointestinal bleeding, congestive heart failure, liver damage, and urinary tract obstruction. Remember, it is only a part of the diagnostic process and is not solely responsible for the exact results regarding the mentioned health conditions.

It is normal to do other tests even if the main concern of conducting BUN is to check for the occurrence of kidney problems. Most of the time, creatinine levels are also measured while a BUN test is being conducted; but this other substance is measured by using another kind of test called the creatinine test. Creatinine is similar to blood urea as it is also considered as a waste product wherein if it is detected to be in a high level will simply mean that the kidney has already been damaged and is having issues with its function.

How is it done?

A BUN test is pretty normal. It just involves the extraction of a blood sample, and it differs from other blood tests in terms of which will be the focus of the test – which is the blood urea in the case of BUN. The preparation that must be done before the test depends on what kind of result one wants. For blood urea focused result only, it is acceptable to eat and drink before the test is conducted. Do not worry about the preparation because the doctor usually gives out instructions that must be followed and they will let you know if you are in need of fasting the night before.