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How to Check Kidney Function At Home?

Kidney is an organ that is somewhat shaped like a bean seed and is just about the same size as a fist. There are two kidneys located on each side of the spine, a little below the rib cage. 

What Do the Kidneys Do? 

The kidneys are responsible for a lot of things. They include: 

  • Filtering blood every minute
  • Getting rid of waste fluids from your body via urine as a part of the urinary tract
  • Getting rid of acid produced by the body cells
  • Maintaining a balance of salt, minerals (calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus), and water, without which the muscles, nerves, and tissues may not work properly.
  • Producing hormones to balance blood pressure
  • Maintain healthy and strong bones

What is a Kidney Function Test? 

A kidney function test is a test that is used to measure and monitor the efficiency of the kidneys; how well they’re getting rid of the waste and if there are signs of a decline in kidney function attributing to an infection or disease. The test results of a kidney function test come out after 24 hours or a few days later. 

Why is a Kidney Function Test Important? 

It is advised that you take a kidney function test because it helps identify a kidney function decline at its early stages where it can easily be curbed, managed, or even completely prevented. 

If you experience some of these symptoms, you might want to take a kidney check test early enough: 

  • Tiredness/Fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurrent dark and concentrated urine/blood in your urine
  • Painful urination
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Problems with sleeping

It is also advised that individuals who are at high risk of developing a kidney disease undergo a kidney check test as often as possible. Some of the individuals who are at high risk of developing kidney disease include: 

  • Individuals with a heart disease
  • Diabetic patients
  • Individuals with a history of kidney failure in the family
  • Individuals with high blood pressure
  • Older individuals who are 60 and above
  • Individuals who are obese
  • People who have a smoking habit
  • People who have developed kidney stones
  • Individuals who suffer from an untreated UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
  • People who suffer from one cardiovascular disease or another

Types of Kidney Function Tests 

There are different kinds of kidney function tests, but they are majorly divided into blood and urine tests. 

Blood Tests 

  • Serum Creatinine 

Used to monitor creatinine buildup. Creatinine is a waste product that is derived from the breakdown of muscle tissue. 

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen

Used to monitor how much protein breakdown occurs in your blood, by measuring Nitrogen amounts in the blood. 

  • Estimated GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate)

Used to calculate filtration rates. This happens based on a variety of factors, like race, protein levels, gender, age and size. 

Urine Tests 

  • Urinalysis 

Checks urine for proteins, function and blood.

  • Microalbuminuria 

Checks for albumin, a specific kind of protein. 

Is it Possible to Check Kidney Function at Home? 

It is, in fact, possible to test kidney function at home. When you go see a doctor, they are more likely to do a blood test, but there is an option to carry out a test at home using an at-home urine tests. There are different urine tests in the market. Most commonly they measure protein levels in urine, which is not supposed to be found in the urine in normal circumstances. 

Some Changes to Make to Prevent Kidney Deterioration 

Below are some lifestyle changes to adopt:

  • Lose excess weight
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Adjust your diet to more healthy foods
  • Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure and make sure they are under control
  • Drink enough fluids
  • Take pain relievers only when necessary

Are There any Risks Involved in Kidney Function At-home Tests? 

It is completely safe to use a kidney function home test kit. But since results are most commonly read by the user, comparing their test results to the color chart on the box. There is room for human error. 

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