How is kidney disease diagnosed?

Often, kidney diseases are discovered through routine testing of blood or urine. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 3 tests are recommended for testing for kidney disease:

  • Measuring blood pressure. (Blood pressure levels are not only a factor in causing kidney disease, but may also indicate the presence of kidney disease.)
  • Testing urine for the presence of albumin or other proteins.
  • Measuring serum creatinine to provide for a calculation of glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

In addition, measuring the level of urea nitrogen in the blood can also be useful.

If these tests come back with an indication of kidney disease, your health care provider may order additional testing. These may include imaging tests, such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computerized tomography (CT) scans. If the healthcare provider needs additional information, he or she may order a kidney biopsy. This procedure means that a needle is used to retrieve a piece of kidney tissue in an operation using local anesthesia.

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