Lehigh County Health & Medicine Spring 2021 - 6

FEATURE

KIDNEYS ARE RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE FOLLOWING:
* removing toxins and waste products
* b alancing electrolytes (sodium,
potassium and magnesium to name
a few)
*helping maintain our body fluid,
blood pressure, and acid/base balance
* r eleasing a hormone called
erythropoietin which helps us
produce red blood cells
* producing an active form of
Vitamin D to maintain bone health
DIAGNOSING KIDNEY DISEASE
Blood tests, urine testing and kidney imaging are the three ways in which healthcare
providers diagnose CKD.

minute, is used to determine a patient's stage CAUSES OF KIDNEY DISEASE
of chronic kidney disease. Healthy kidneys
Patients are often referred to a nephrologist,
filter about 120ml/min. There are 5 stages a kidney specialist, when CKD or abnormal
of CKD. Stage 3 is split into stages 3a and urine testing is present. Nephrologists will
3b (see table 1). Patients with CKD stages work with patients to determine what stage
On blood testing, a level called a serum 1-3 are often asymptomatic while symptoms of CKD is present, and what can be done to
creatinine (sCr) is used to determine the kid- present in later stages of CKD. CKD stage slow down progression of CKD. Diabetes and
neys' level of function. People are born with 5 is often when dialysis is considered based hypertension are the most common causes of
two kidneys: the sCr reflects their combined on the patient's wishes, clinical status and chronic kidney disease in the United States,
function. Normal sCr can vary from person blood work results. 
as well as natural aging of the kidneys.
to person as age, gender, and muscle mass all
play a role. Generally, a serum creatinine of
Another important way to evaluate kidney
Other causes of CKD include recurrent
1 mg/dL is considered normal. However, a functioning is urine testing. A urinalysis acute kidney injury, for example, from dedoubling of someone's normal sCr suggests with microscopy helps providers evaluate hydration. Frequent daily use of medications
a 50% loss of functioning. Each individual whether or not microscopic blood or protein such as high dose NSAIDs can be toxic to
patient is unique, so prior labs to trend sCr are present. As blood and protein in urine kidneys. NSAIDs include medications such
levels help to determine someone's normal, are not normal, persistence could suggest as ibuprofen, naproxen, celebrex, diclofenac
or baseline, range. For example, a petite chronic kidney disease. Urine protein is and indomethacin. Always ask your doctor if
woman's normal serum creatinine could often quantified to help further determine it is safe to take any over the counter or herbal
be 0.7 mg/dL whereas a tall muscular male staging of kidney disease. 
medications when you have kidney disease.
of the same age and ethnicity could have a
Obesity, family history of CKD, smoking,
normal serum creatinine of 1.2 mg/dL. These
Kidney imaging, in the form of a renal kidney stones, autoimmune diseases, frequent
values are very different but reflect normal ultrasound or CT scan, is also considered UTIs and exposures such as to heavy metals
levels for each of the individuals.
in diagnosing CKD. Imaging helps health can all contribute to progression of kidney
care providers determine if there is any disease as well.
There are a variety of equations that structural issue that could be causing abaccount for height, weight, age, gender normal function. For example, discovering TREATING CKD
and ethnicity to determine the combined kidney stones, masses, cysts, or a congenital
To slow down progression of CKD, control
function of a person's kidneys. The function solitary kidney, are all instances in which of blood pressure and blood sugars is vital.
is called the estimated glomerular filtration CKD could be present or a person is at risk Avoiding caffeine, getting a good night's
rate, or eGFR. eGFR, measuring in milliliters/ of developing CKD. 
rest each night, exercise, and following

6 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | SPRING 2021



Lehigh County Health & Medicine Spring 2021

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