Kidney function tests, also known as renal function tests, include urea and electrolytes tests. These tests measure levels of various substances in the blood, such as electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate), minerals (phosphorus, calcium), protein (albumin), waste products (urea, creatinine), and glucose. They are used to check kidney function, monitor kidney health over time, diagnose acute kidney injury, and manage conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease
Indications of the Test
Kidney function tests are indicated for individuals with suspected kidney problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or those taking medications that might affect the kidneys. Symptoms that may indicate a problem with the kidneys include changes in urination, swelling, fatigue, skin rash, metallic taste in the mouth, and shortness of breath. These tests are also used to monitor existing conditions and as a screening test for individuals at risk of kidney disease.
No special preparation is usually required for kidney function tests. However, healthcare providers may advise patients to avoid certain medications or fast for a few hours before the test. It’s important to follow any specific instructions given by the healthcare provider.
Typical Reference Values
The typical reference values for kidney function tests include normal ranges for electrolytes, minerals, protein, waste products, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Any result lower than 60 milliliters/minute/1.73m2 may be a warning sign of kidney disease
The turnaround time for kidney function tests can vary but is typically a few days. Patients should consult their healthcare provider or the testing facility for specific information about the turnaround time.
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