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