Kidney Health 1 : The Big Screen - by Tim Horn

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Kidney Health and HIV

Mind Your Meds

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The Big Screen

by Tim Horn

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 urine sample.

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.



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