The National Kidney Foundation notes that more than 37 million American adults are living with kidney disease, and the majority don’t even know it[1]. Taking this into consideration, one of the most effective ways to identify how your kidneys are performing is through a kidney function test.

Should you take a kidney function test? Let’s learn a little more about normal kidney function and find out if you should take a test.



What Is Normal Kidney Function?

Since many of those living with kidney disease don’t experience signs or symptoms until the disease has progressed, understanding normal kidney function is vital to understanding your kidney health.

From the filtering of waste products to the water balance in the body - the kidneys perform many crucial functions. Some of the kidneys key functions include:

  • Filtering Waste Products

The kidneys filter out toxins, excess salt, urea, and waste products by flushing them out of the body with urine. If the body’s waste products build-up, it can lead to kidney disease[2].

  • Balancing Bodily Water-Salt Ratio

Your kidneys are one of the body’s primary ways of maintaining a stable salt-water balance. It does this by releasing excess sodium in urine and by actively retaining or releasing water out of the body.

  • Regulating Your Blood Pressure

If blood pressure is low, the kidneys produce a protein called angiotensin and a hormone called renin - both work together to constrict the vessels and bring your blood pressure to a more stabilised level[3].

  • Regulating Red Blood Cell Production

The kidneys regulate red blood cells by producing a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). The kidneys increase the production of EPO as soon as there’s a shortage of red blood cells in the tissues in order to regulate red blood cell production[4].

  • Regulating Acid Levels

In response to increased acidity in the body, the kidneys attempt to secrete more hydrogen and generate more bicarbonate to regulate the body's acidity levels and ensure PH levels are balanced.


Should You Take A Kidney Function Test?


You should consider taking a Kidney Function Test if any of the below are applicable to you:

  • You suffer from high blood pressure
  • You suffer from diabetes
  • You have suffered an acute injury
  • You have persistent urinary tract infections
  • You have kidney disease or a family history of one
  • You have kidney stones or a family history of them
  • You have a high protein diet
  • You have been taking performance-enhancing drugs

If you’re concerned about symptoms that you’re experiencing, it’s important to make a trip to your doctor for a check-up.

If you simply want to know a bit more about your kidney health, you have the option to take a kidney function test from the comfort of your own home. With LetsGetChecked’s kidney function test you can monitor your kidney function and performance and receive your online results within 5 days.



References

  1. National Kidney Foundation. 10 signs you may have kidney disease. Online: Kidney.org
  2. Beaumont Hospital Kidney Centre. The Urinary System. Online: Beaumont.ie
  3. You and Your Hormones. Angiotensin. Online: Yourhormones.info, 2019
  4. You and Your Hormones. Kidneys. Online: Yourhormones.info, 2019
  5. You and Your Hormones. Kidneys. Online: Yourhormones.info, 2019