Kidney Failure - Diagnosis

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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: deekaye, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

My symptoms started with extreme exhaustion, nausea, leg aches, cramps, sleep problems, headaches, confusion, and horrible itching on the left side of my back at the location of my kidney with no apparent rash. If you experience any of these symptoms, ask for kidney testing to be performed. As soon as I found out, I cut out dairy, sugar, and meat from my diet which has helped.

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Comment from: hangininthere, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 25

In September last year I was admitted to the hospital for shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, and edema. My family thought that I was having a heart attack. They performed a heart catherization to find that my heart is in above average condition, however, my kidney's are failing. At that time, my GFR was 77, now 9 months later it is at 34 (Stage 3). My nephrologist stated after a biopsy that I have Membraneous Glomerule Nephitis, which is the slowly progression type of CKD, and not to worry. He is convinced that he can cure me with steriods, but has not began treatment and told me that I will not need dialysis. If my function declined from 77 to 34 in 9 months, I do not consider that a slow decline. I have severe edema in my feet, legs arm and sometimes in my face, severe anemia, flank pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. I have not began steroid treatment due to a major infection in my foot. Can anyone tell me if they have had success with steroid treatment for Stage 3 kidney failure? I need some honest feedback please.

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