What Does Renal Function Test Indicates?


A Renal Function Test or RFT is one of the tests that will be conducted to determine the functioning of your kidneys. Renal Function Test or RFT is a blood test that helps in evaluating the functioning of the kidneys. The kidneys are bean-shaped organs found in the back of the abdominal cavity. They are responsible for filtering out the waste substances from the blood and excreting them into the urine.

Renal Function Tests allow us to see how our kidney is functioning. An RFT can help detect the presence of a number of kidney-related problems, including glomerulonephritis, renal artery stenosis, and nephrotic syndrome.

RFT is a test that helps determine if your kidneys are functioning properly. This test is usually given to people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or anaemia. It can also be given to people who have had a heart attack, stroke, or kidney transplant.

Symptoms Of Kidney Problems

There are many different signs and symptoms of kidney disease, but most of the time, people associate them with other conditions. Also, some people that suffer from kidney disease do not experience symptoms or realize they are suffering from a kidney condition till it's in the later stages, i.e when the kidneys have already started failing or when large quantities of protein in the urine are found.

The most common symptoms of Kidney Problems include:-
  • Fatigue/Increased Tiredness
  • Difficulty in Concentrating
  • Sleep Troubles
  • Itchy and Dry Skin
  • Frequent Urination
  • Blood in Urine
  • Persistent Puffiness around eyes
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Poor Appetite
  • Muscle Cramping

Causes of Renal Disease

In most cases, the reason for renal disease lies in the underlying diseases like Diabetes and hypertension that cause permanent damage to the kidneys over time. Other conditions that might cause Renal disease are certain auto-immune diseases like Lupus and IgA nephropathy, Some Genetic Diseases, Nephrotic Syndrome, Urinary Tract problems like blockage, blood or fluid loss, Liver failure, severe dehydration, alcohol and drug consumption, Glomerulonephritis, Interstitial nephritis, Polycystic kidney disease, Obesity, Smoking, among others.

What Is A Kidney Function Test?

Kidney Function Tests are the only way to determine how well your kidneys are working. Renal function tests (RFT) are a collection of tests that may be performed to assess kidney (renal) function. These tests help calculate the amount of different elements, including many minerals, electrolytes, proteins, and glucose, in the blood or urine to determine the health status of the kidneys

Types Of Kidney Function Tests

Blood Tests and Urine Tests both help determine whether the kidneys are functioning as they are supposed to or not.

Some urine tests include

  • Urinalysis: This is the most common and basic test for kidney function analysis. It is done to detect the presence of blood and protein in the urine
  • Microalbumin test: This is a test conducted to determine very small levels of a blood protein (albumin) in the urine. It is used to catch early signs of kidney damage in people who are at risk of developing kidney disease.
  • Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (ACR): Also termed as urine microalbumin, this test, recognises the presence of kidney disease which can occur as a complication of diabetes. This test should be conducted on a yearly basis, or even more frequently if the ACR level is already significantly high.
  • Creatinine Clearance: This blood test checks for the levels of creatinine in the blood. This test, done in two steps, involves collecting urine over a 24-hour period of time and then having the blood drawn. Both of which are tested to see how much creatinine was filtered through the kidneys over the 24-hour time frame.
  • Blood tests like Serum Creatinine: This is a blood test for determining the amount of creatinine in the bloodstream. One of the main functions of the kidneys is to excrete creatinine, which is the waste product of muscle breakdown, from the bloodstream. High levels of creatinine in the blood can indicate kidney problems.
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate(GFR): The Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is a form of estimating the ability of the kidneys to filter blood. It can help evaluate the quantity in litres of blood the kidneys are filtering.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): This is another test used to indicate if the kidneys are filtering blood properly. Higher than normal levels of Urea Nitrogen indicate kidney problems.

For some cases, even an Ultrasound, CT Scan or biopsy may be required.

Why do you need to do a kidney function test?

Your healthcare provider will prescribe Kidney Function Tests to determine whether it's your kidneys that are causing certain symptoms or not. Basically to check the health of your kidneys. Especially when you are suffering from diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension or Chronic Kidney diseases, it becomes essential to monitor the proper functioning of your kidneys.

What parameters are measured in Kidney Function Test, RFT (Renal Function Test)?

Creatinine, Potassium, Phosphorous, Uric Acid, Chloride, Sodium, Blood Urea, Blood Urea Nitrogen, Calcium, amino acids, glucose, phosphate, electrolytes, proteins and pH are the parameters measured in Kidney Function Tests to deduce kidney health.

  • What is a normal renal function test result?
  • A creatinine level greater than 1.2 for women and greater than 1.4 for men may be an initial indication that the kidneys are not functioning properly.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)- The normal BUN level is within 7 and 20. With the decrease in kidney function, the BUN level increases.
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate(GFR)- A GFR of 60 or higher is in the normal range. A GFR level less than 60 may indicate kidney disease. A GFR level of 15 or lesser may indicate kidney failure
  • Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (ACR)- An ACR under 30 is considered normal. An ACR above 30 may mean kidney disease

Your health care provider will scan these results to diagnose your condition or devise a treatment plan for you. If you are already suffering from kidney disease, kidney function tests can help to determine how your disease is progressing and if you're responding well to a certain treatment.

Conclusion A renal function test, also known as a renal function study, is a test that helps determine how well your kidneys are working. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the blood and producing urine, which is then discharged from the body. The test can also help to determine if a medical condition, such as diabetes, is affecting the kidneys. The test is also useful in determining if a drug is affecting the kidneys. An example of a drug that would be tested is a diuretic, a medicine used to lower blood pressure. This test is used to help diagnose many kidney diseases, including chronic kidney disease

If you're at risk for kidney disease due to underlying conditions like hypertension, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure or if you're older than age 60, it's important to get tested annually for kidney disease.

Unipath speciality laboratory provides home sample collection for your convenience and a range of renal function tests to book, please contact us at +91 (79) 4900 6800, or visit https://www.unipath.in/.

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