Discover Which Tests Reveal Kidney Disease And Which Ones Miss The Mark

Excess fluids and all other wastes are removed from the blood by the Kidney and their health level can be ascertained through urine and blood tests. Urine tests also have the capacity to show just how well and often these wastes are removed as well as if the kidneys are leaking abnormal amounts of protein, which is a sign of kidney abnormalities or malfunction. Below, we have briefly described the tests used to measure kidney health and functionality.

Blood Tests

Serum Creatinine

Creatinine is a waste product that is created by the regular wear and tear of the body muscles. Depending on the body size, age and race of an individual, the creatinine level might vary and when there is an observation that creatinine levels in males and females are exceeding 1.4 and 1.2 respectively, it might be the sign that the kidney is not in its proper working state. The creatinine level in the blood increases as the kidney disease deteriorates.

Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)

(Mathematical formula using the MDRD or CKD-EPI equation)

This test focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of the kidney in getting rid of excess fluid and wastes from the blood. It is calculated from the serum creatinine level with gender and age with certain adjustments for the African American decent. Age is a determining factor when it comes to GFR levels because the older you get, the less it becomes. A GFR of 90 or above is normal however, when it goes below 60, it means there is a problem. If it gets to 15 or below, it means the person need immediate medical attention and would most likely need kidney dialysis or transplant.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)

Urea nitrogen arises from the breakdown of the protein content of what we eat the normal BUN level is between 7 -20 and this number increases as the kidney function decreases.

Imaging Tests


This test gets a picture of the kidney through the use of sound waves. It is used to detect abnormalities in the position or size of the kidney as well as if there are any abnormal obstructions like tumors or stones.

CT Scan

This is an X-yay technic used to capture the kidney image. It can also be used to look out for structural abnormalities as well as the presence of obstructions. Intravenous contrast dyes may be used in this test especially for people with concerns for kidney diseases.


Kidney Biopsy

People may have to undergo kidney biopsy for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To identify the process of a certain disease as well as ascertain how well it would respond to treatment
  • To examine and ascertain the level of damage already done on the kidney
  • To observe and evaluate reasons why a kidney transplant might not be doing well.

A kidney biopsy is done by slicing a small piece of the kidney tissues with the aid of a thin needle with a sharp cutting edge in order to examine it under a microscope.

Urine Tests

While only a few tablespoons full of urine is required to carry out some test, other require all the urine produced by the kidney over a 24-hour period. With the 24-hour urine test, the level of urine produced by the kidney can be ascertained; the kidney functionality as well as levels of protein leakages from the kidney into the urine within a day can be ascertained.


This test includes the microscopic examination of a urine sample and the dipstick test. The dipstick is the chemically treated strip which is dipped into the urine sample capable of changing color to reflect the level and type of abnormalities present including sugar, bacteria, pus and excess protein levels. With the test, diseases such as bladder infection, kidney stones, diabetes, and other CKD can be identified.

Urine Protein

This could be part of the urinalysis or done with another dipstick. Excess protein in the urine is termed proteinuria (pro-TEEN-yu-ree-uh). A positive dipstick test (1+ or greater) ought to be confirmed with the aid of a more specific dipstick test e.g. an albumin specific dipstick or quantitative measurement like an albumin-to-creatinine ratio.


This test is a lot more sensitive and is capable of detecting a tiny amount of protein referred to as albumin in the urine sample. People who should have this test are those with an increased risk of having CKD e.g. those suffering from High blood pressure, diabetes etc. They should have this test or carry out an albumin-to-creatinine ratio test to check if their dipstick test for proteinuria is negative.

Creatinine Clearance

Creatinine is a waste product that is created by the regular wear and tear of the body muscles. Creatinine clearance test studies the creatinine in a 24-hour sample of urine and compares it to the creatinine levels in your blood to ascertain the level of waste being filtered by the kidney every minute.