Kidney Function Test
Posted September 30, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 2 min read
Kidney function tests are urine or blood tests that evaluate how well your kidneys are working. Most of these tests measure glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR assesses how efficiently your kidneys clear waste from your system.
Functions of kidneys
Your kidneys are part of your urinary system. The two kidneys sit in the back of your abdomen just below your ribcage. They help your body filter waste materials and expel them as urine. Your kidneys are also vital for producing:
Hormones that maintain blood pressure.
Red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.
Vitamin D, which maintains bone and muscle health.
Need for kidney function test?
Some conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension), affect how well the kidneys work.
If you have one of these conditions, your healthcare provider may use kidney function tests to help monitor these conditions.
You may also need a kidney function test if you have symptoms that indicate possible kidney problems. These symptoms might include:
Blood in your urine (hematuria).
Painful urination (dysuria).
Frequent urge to urinate.
Problems with starting to pee.
Process of kidney function tests
You complete 24-hour urine tests at home. For a 24-hour urine test, your provider will give you a container to collect urine. On the day of the test:
Urinate into the toilet as usual after you first wake up.
For the rest of the day, urinate into the container.
On day two, urinate into the container when you first wake up.
Complete the test by dropping your sample off at the healthcare provider’s office or laboratory.
Types of kidney function tests
Your healthcare provider may order one or a few different types of kidney function tests. You may have blood tests for kidney function, such as:
Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) measures nitrogen (made from protein breakdown) in your blood.
Estimated GFR (eGFR) calculates filtration rates based on your protein levels, age, gender, size and race.
Serum creatinine looks for the buildup of creatinine, a waste product from muscle tissue breakdown.
Your healthcare provider may also use 24-hour urine tests, including:
Microalbuminuria looks for a specific protein called albumin.
Urinalysis evaluates your urine for blood, proteins and function.
What do the results of kidney function test mean?
Kidney function test results can tell you whether your kidneys are functioning typically or not. Most function tests look for two measurements:
GFR of less than 60 could indicate kidney disease.
Urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) of more than 30 milligrams per gram could be a warning sign of kidney disease