How do I know if I have kidney disease?

Your primary care doctor will determine if you have kidney disease based on blood and urine tests. A high serum creatinine (blood test) and/or high blood urine nitrogen (BUN) may indicate you have kidney disease.

What is Creatinine?

Creatinine is made by the muscle and excreted by the kidneys. Men have more muscle mass than women and therefore will have a higher creatinine level. Usually, a low (in the normal range) serum creatinine indicates good kidney function and a high creatinine is a sign of poor kidney function, there are exceptions to the rule but your doctor will explain. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is a measure of protein metabolism and varies based on fluid intake, medications and protein intake. A urinalysis with protein, blood, or glucose may indication you have a kidney problem and/or systemic disease.

Why is kidney disease silent?

Usually, a person’s kidneys only “hurt” if there is a kidney infection, kidney stone or if the patient has polycystic kidney disease.

What is GFR?

GFR is an abbreviation for “Glomerular filtration rate” and it is an estimate of kidney function based on the patients creatinine, age, gender and race.

What can I do to prevent kidney disease?

Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) are the number 1 & 2 causes of kidney disease in the United States. While certain genetic factors do play a role in the development of diabetes and hypertension, people can decrease their risk by maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising and following a low sodium diet.

What over the counter medications should I avoid if I have kidney disease?

• NSAIDS (non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs): ibuprofen, motrin, naproxen, Aleve, Cox-2 inhibitors, Celebrex, Mobic, BC powder, Goody powder and others • Fleet’s enema • Fleet’s oral phosphate cathartics • Pyridium or “Azo” • Antihistamines with decongestants • Maalox • Milk of magnesium • Pepto bismol