Laboratory Exams For Chronic Kidney Disease:CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE LABS


chronic kidney disease labsTo fully diagnose a patient with chronic kidney disease, a complete set of laboratory tests or exams should be carried out. From the name of the disease itself, being chronic signifies a long-standing disease that the patient himself or herself may not even be aware of. Although symptoms can be obviously observed and the doctor may readily suspect a renal pathology, a sound examination through laboratory and diagnostic procedures based on medical protocol is done in order to confirm the diagnostic consideration.

In this article, we have listed down, in no particular order, the important chronic kidney disease labs used by physicians to conclude a chronic kidney disease:

 Urinalysis: chronic kidney disease labs

Urine analysis is a routine chronic kidney disease labs test that helps physicians draw out specific considerations in their diagnoses. The presence of indicators, particularly albumin/protein in the urinalysis may rule in chronic kidney disease. Microalbumin in the urine that is not associated with certain diseases such as urinary tract infection may indicate serious renal consideration.

Other indicators in routine urinalysis that can help in the diagnosis include specific gravity and color of the urine. Urinary sediments such as hyaline casts and/or muddy brown granular casts are also equally important indicators in routine urine analysis.

 BUN and Plasma Creatinine Concentration: chronic kidney disease labs

The next of the usual chronic kidney disease labs to evaluate kidney functions are Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Plasma Creatinine Concentration (PCr). This is ordered by physicians as BUN and Creatinine and is usually understood by medical technologists as being blood chemistry tests. In routine, the patient is ordered to go on fasting for at least 8 hours to a maximum of 10 hours. No food or water should be taken before the tests; a small amount of blood (perhaps 5 ml) is extracted from the patient and the blood is run through a machine that determines the said components in the blood.

Urea and creatinine are the by-products of protein metabolism, and the kidneys are the main organs that remove them out of our body. The nitrogenous wastes are increased when the kidneys are not functioning normally. Being part of the protein metabolism, urea (in particular) are wastes that should not be retained in the blood. Thus, if any of these blood components are increased, the lab test will tell the physician of a renal problem. BUN to creatinine ratio is also computed as part of the physician’s diagnosis. Creatinine is also used to estimate the so-called glomerular filtration rate—a calculation that evaluates how well the kidneys filter blood.

 Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS): chronic kidney disease labs

Another important blood chemistry that is used to evaluate a chronic kidney disease is the Fasting Blood Sugar or the Fasting Blood Glucose. As its name implies, FBS is done after the patient at least has undergone a minimum of 8-hour fasting.

Increased FBS may indicate Diabetes Mellitus. It can be left undiagnosed for years and can damage the blood vessels in the kidney; thus, causing chronic kidney disease.

 Complete Blood Count (CBC): chronic kidney disease labs

       As routine as urinalysis, CBC helps physicians evaluate renal patients for any signs of anemia. Since blood is filtered through the kidneys, it should be analyzed for any untoward need for medical intervention. The need for dialysis is often evaluated together with CBC in long-standing kidney disease.        

       Important indicators in Complete Blood Blount include hemoglobin and hematocrit counts. Additionally, other blood analyses are important to conclude anemia such as iron and serum ferritin tests.

 Parathyroid Tests: chronic kidney disease labs

  Parathyroid hormones control the level of calcium in the blood. As part of the diagnostic procedure, a physician may order parathyroid hormone tests to evaluate the function of the parathyroid glands. This is in connection with the cascading effects from poor phosphorus metabolism by the kidneys that in turn may affect calcium metabolism and parathyroid hormone release.

 Radiologic and Imaging Studies: chronic kidney disease labs

Ultrasound of the kidneys is used to evaluate any obstruction in the urinary tract. Other alternative imaging modalities are Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography.

Additionally, ultrasound can help estimate the presence of the chronic renal disease—as to how long has it been there. Other causes of possible obstruction can be evaluated through imaging studies in order for the physician to rule in our out any other existing diseases such as polycystic kidney disease.

Restricted blood flow in the kidneys can also be evaluated by other imaging studies such as Angiogram or the Duplex Doppler Studies. These studies help to assess causes of restricted blood flow in chronic kidney disease.

 Though some physicians may or may not order everything mentioned above, the final diagnosis for chronic kidney disease is usually assessed by these diagnostic examinations. A sound diagnosis needs a good clinical and laboratory evaluation. And for every physician’s final diagnosis, a thorough assessment is always essential. 

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