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Your GFR Can Help Stop Kidney Disease

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~ Robert C. Stanton, M.D., Chief, Josln Nephrology

Diabetes is the  leading cause of kidney failure  in the United States and Canada.  Twenty to 40 percent of people with diabetes develop kidney disease, but with proper treatment and screening most of these people can avoid developing kidney failure.

What do the kidneys do?

Kidneys filter waste products and excess fluids from the blood.  The body cannot survive without the kidneys.  If they fail, either dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed.

The good news is that kidney disease can be slowed significantly with early diagnosis and treatment.

Here at Joslin we recommend you have two tests performed annually to detect the earliest evidence of kidney disease.

The first is a special urine test that tracks excess protein in the urine, a condition known as microalbuminuria. The normal albumin level in the urine is less than 30 mg.  Anything that is persistently above that is abnormal and reflects an early sign of kidney disease.

The second test we recommend is a simple but important blood test that measures the blood creatinine level.  The creatinine is a substance that is always in the blood, but when there is kidney failure, the level of this substance will rise.  By checking the glomerular filtration rate of your kidneys, your doctor can tell how well your kidneys are filtering your blood. It is a very important indicator of how well your kidneys are working.   Ask your doctor what your GFR is. 

Remember:

    Have your urine tested annually for the presence of protein or albumin.

    Have your creatinine tested to get your GFR.

    If the results of these tests are abnormal, have your doctor refer you to a kidney doctor for further treatment.

Page last updated: August 29, 2014