The GFR, or glomerular filtration rate, is the marker by which many of your health decisions will be made. Glomerular filtration rate is quite a mouthful and can seem very complicated. The more information you have at your disposal, however, the better able you can be to make the best decisions regarding your health.
So, soak up all the information you can about GFR with these commonly asked questions and answers:
What is GFR?
The glomerular filtration rate is a value that helps determine if you have kidney disease and also what stage of kidney disease you are in. Whatever the value of the GFR is, is checked against a range that determines how many functions your kidneys have.
What is the test to determine GFR?
The GFR is determined via a simple blood test. You will simply have some vials of blood removed just like you do for any routine testing. The calculation to achieve the GFR is much more complicated. You can, however, use a GFR calculator online to help calculate your own GFR value.
How is GFR calculated?
The GFR is determined with an equation that is called the “CKD-EPI Creatinine Equation”. This equation is a way to balance multiple factors along with creatinine levels to determine the level of kidney function.
What factors are included in the GFR calculation?
Your blood creatinine results are the main factor used to determine the GFR, along with age, sex, and race. Factors like race, of course, are not numerical values, thus the reason for such a complicated equation to determine the GFR.
How are the stages of kidney disease determined?
The stages of kidney disease are determined by the value of the GFR. Since the GFR calculates the level of kidney function, this can be used to categorize the stages of kidney disease.
- A GFR value of 90 or higher is considered normal, or stage 1
- A GFR of 60-89 is considered mild, or stage 2
- A GFR of 45-59 is considered moderate, or stage 3A
- A GFR of 30-44 is considered worsened moderate, or stage 3B
- A GFR of 15-29 is considered severe, or stage 4
- A GFR of less than 15 is considered end stage, or stage 5
What are other factors considered for kidney health?
Other risk factors, such as age, gender, and race are considered for the GFR. For overall kidney health, your doctor might also consider your past and family medical history, weight, and other health factors.
This may seem like a lot of information for one little test, but a lot is determined by your GFR. Your overall kidney disease diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment are all likely to be determined by this one calculation. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your GFR and how your results affect you.
Also published on Medium.