Kidney Failure - Diagnosis

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Describe the events and tests that led to a diagnosis of kidney failure.

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How is kidney failure diagnosed?

Diagnosis of kidney failure is confirmed by blood tests measuring the buildup of waste products in the blood. BUN, creatinine, and GFR are routine blood tests used to measure the buildup of waste products in the blood. BUN and creatinine become elevated, and the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decreases. This is the rate with which blood is filtered through the kidneys and can be calculated based upon the creatinine level, age, race, and gender.

Urine tests may be done to measure the amount of protein, detect the presence of abnormal cells, or measure the concentration of electrolytes. Protein in the urine is not normal and can be a clue that damage to the kidneys has occurred. When the urine is examined under a microscope, abnormal aggregations of red and white blood cells called casts can be seen in the urine with kidney disease. Comparing the concentrations of electrolytes in the blood and urine can help decide whether the kidneys are able to appropriately monitor and filter blood.

Other tests are used to diagnose the type of kidney failure. Abdominal ultrasound can assess the size of the kidneys and may identify whether any obstruction exists. Biopsy of the kidney uses a thin needle that is placed through the skin into the kidney itself to get bits of tissue to examine under the microscope.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Jean, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I was given two shots of Prolia and blood tests showed I was in kidney failure stage 4.

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Comment from: millie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 19

I had blood work done two weeks ago, I got the results on 6-16-2014. I could not believe it when the doctor's office called and said I need to have an ultra sound of the kidneys. My reading was 128, I need treatment for kidney failure.

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