The kidneys remove waste products from your blood. Waste is formed when your body breaks down nutrients. After your body has taken what it needs from what you eat and drink, solid waste products are eliminated through your bowels, but additional small waste products are released into the blood. If your kidneys don’t filter and remove this waste in your urine, it can build up to harmful levels and damage your body.
Healthy kidneys work around the clock to remove waste and extra fluid from your blood. Here’s how:
CKD progresses through five stages, but usually has no symptoms until stage 4 and 5. However, by stage 4 and 5, it can be too late to slow progression of the disease. Prevention and/or early diagnosis are critical for a longer, healthier life.
The first step? Make sure your doctor tests your kidney function at least once a year.
This is an important question to ask your doctor. Your GFR tells you how well your kidneys are working. A GFR over 60 means your kidneys are filtering well. Under 60? Talk to your doctor. A combination of good healthcare and a commitment to a kidney-friendly lifestyle can prolong your kidney function.
With a simple blood test, your doctor can tell how much creatinine (a waste product) is in your blood. The doctor uses this number to calculate how much waste your kidneys filter in a minute. This is called your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The higher the GFR, the more effectively your kidneys are filtering waste.
A urine test is looking at what is and is not present in your urine, including:
Healthy kidneys should keep blood and protein from spilling into the urine. If blood or protein are present in the urine, this could be a sign of kidney damage or inflammation.
A series of online learning presentations helps you build your understanding of CKD.