The kidneys are two bean-shaped vital organs located in the back part of the lower abdomen. They are protected by the lower rib cage and perform vital functions necessary to overall good health and function.
When these organs are compromised by injuries, illnesses, or use of medication, they can start to fail quickly, compromising wellness.
Common Renal Function Tests
Doctors typically order a series of renal function tests to determine if patients are in good overall health. Some of the most common renal function laboratory tests that they may order as part of your yearly physical include:
- Serum creatinine test
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test
- Estimated glomerular filtration test
A simple urinalysis test can tell a doctor if there is blood or protein in urine. It also detects the presence of infectious agents like bacteria or viruses in urine and kidneys. If the test results indicate high protein levels or infection, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics and other medications to treat the illness.
The serum creatinine test looks for high levels of creatinine in blood and kidneys. The kidneys are designed to filter out creatinine. High levels of it could signal the onset of kidney disease or failure. The ideal number for this test is 1.2 for women and 1.4 for men.
The blood urea nitrogen, or BUN, test looks for high amounts of nitrogen in blood. High nitrogen levels could indicate that kidneys are infected or failing. The BUN test score should be between seven and 20.
Finally, the estimated glomerular filtration test indicates how well kidneys are filtering waste out of the blood. The results of this test are based on patient demographics such as:
Doctors typically want the score of this test to be 60 or above for good kidney function.
Most patients undergo renal function tests every year at a physical unless there is a history of kidney problems like infection, stones, or failure. The doctor may test renal function more often if the patient suffers from kidney cancer or has a history of renal cancer in the family.
Renal function tests available to patients today are highly reliable and give fast, accurate results. They are not invasive or painful. Most of the renal tests done today require only a blood or urine sample.