Four powerful ways your doctor keeps tabs on your kidney health
Blood Pressure Keeping
blood pressure under control is key to kidney function. Using the
standard inflatable blood pressure cuff, your doctor can keep an eye
out for hypertension. If your pressure is higher than 130 over 80,
he’ll likely recommend drug treatment and lifestyle modifications, such
as decreasing the sodium in your diet and exercising more frequently.
Protein Analysis When
kidneys stop working correctly, they start stripping the good (protein)
with the bad (waste) from the blood and removing it through urination.
Your doctor may test for protein by using a color-coded dipstick in a
Creatinine Clearance and Glomular Filtration Rate (GFR) Found
in the blood, creatinine is a waste product generated by the normal
breakdown of muscle cells. Experts recommend using calculations like
creatinine clearance and GFR, which depend on such variables as weight,
age and values assigned for gender and race. While labs can easily
measure creatinine, they don’t do the math. Most docs, however, have
trusty calculators at their disposal.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) After
cells use protein, the water is converted to urea, a compound that
contains nitrogen. Healthy kidneys remove urea from the blood; diseased
kidneys have a harder time performing this task. A simple blood test
will detect abnormally high levels of urea nitrogen.