Chronic kidney disease screening
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects an estimated 15% of adults in the U.S., about one in seven.1 This condition is prevalent in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.2
Chronic kidney disease screening is a test that checks your blood and urine for signs of CKD.3 Here’s a closer look at how this test works and how to contact Healthcare Associates of Texas for CKD screening.
What is chronic kidney disease?
CKD is when your kidneys are damaged to the point that they cannot filter blood properly. The “chronic” in CKD means that your kidney damage occurred gradually over time, and that it may be a long-lasting condition.
If you have CKD, waste and toxins will build up in your body, as your kidneys cannot filter these substances very well. The longer CKD is untreated, the worse it can become.
This condition usually doesn’t cause symptoms until it becomes advanced. Symptoms of advanced CKD may include:
- Chest pain
- Dry skin
- Urinating more or less than usual
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Muscle cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Bone disease
Chronic kidney disease can lead to serious health problems if a doctor does not treat it. Heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure are severe complications of CKD.
What causes chronic kidney disease?
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD.4 If you have one or both conditions, your doctor may recommend having a CKD screening.
In diabetes, high blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys. CKD caused by diabetes is also known as diabetic kidney disease. If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels within a healthy range is key to reducing your risk for CKD.
High blood pressure can damage the walls of blood vessels, including the ones in your kidneys. If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to lower it. Medications and healthy lifestyle changes can often reduce high blood pressure and your risk for CKD.
CKD may also be caused by:4
- A genetic disorder called polycystic kidney disease
- Rare genetic disorders, like Alport syndrome
- Drugs that are toxic to the kidneys
- Autoimmune disorders
- Heavy metal poisoning
- Renal artery stenosis
Your doctor can also review your medical history to see if you are at risk for CKD.
Who should be screened for chronic kidney disease?
You should get screened for CKD if you meet one or more risk factors. People with the following conditions and risk factors should get a chronic kidney disease screening:2, 5
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Family history of kidney failure
- Older age
There are no benefits to receiving a chronic kidney disease screening if you do not have one of the above conditions.2
What happens during a chronic kidney disease screening?
A CKD screening involves taking samples of both your blood and urine.
The purpose of the blood test is to see how well your kidneys filter your blood. It involves checking your glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
During the blood test, your doctor will use a fine needle to draw a blood sample from a vein in your arm. Then, it will be evaluated in a lab to check your GFR.3
- A GFR of 60 or greater is in the normal range.
- A GFR under 60 means you may have CKD.
- A GFR of 15 or under means you have kidney failure.
Your doctor can help you better understand your blood test results from a CKD screening.
The purpose of the urine test is to have it checked for albumin. Albumin is a protein in your blood. If your kidney is healthy, it will block albumin from passing into urine. If your kidney is damaged, some albumin may be in your urine.3
During the urine test, your doctor will ask you to urinate into a small, sterile cup. Then, a small strip of paper called a dipstick will be inserted into your urine sample to see if any albumin is present.
How is chronic kidney disease diagnosed?
CKD is diagnosed when your doctor finds evidence of kidney damage or decreased kidney function that has been present for at least three months.2 Your doctor will review the results of your chronic kidney disease screening to determine whether you have CKD.
If you are diagnosed with CKD, your doctor will try to determine its root cause. CKD cannot be reversed. However, knowing its root cause will allow your doctor to identify the best ways to treat or manage it. For example, if your CKD was caused by diabetes, your doctor may work with you to control your blood sugar levels so your CKD does not progress or worsen.
Sometimes, your doctor may order additional tests to discover your CKD’s root cause. Dilated retinal exam, hepatitis B test, and ultrasound are some of the many other tests that your doctor may order.2 If necessary, your doctor can discuss these tests in more detail during your diagnosis.
Where can I get a screening for chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease screening is usually available from your healthcare provider. If your doctor thinks you might have CKD, you may be given a referral to a walk-in lab, urgent care center or nephrologist. A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating kidney conditions like CKD.
If you have CKD, there are many steps you can take to prevent your condition from getting worse and causing other health problems. You can do many things to manage CKD by eating healthy foods, getting quality sleep, and not smoking.6 Your doctor can also discuss other treatments that may help.
Request an appointment with Healthcare Associates of Texas today for chronic kidney disease screening or help managing diabetes. We can review your medical history, perform an evaluation and discuss all your available treatment options.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. “Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2021.” CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/publications-resources/ckd-national-facts.html.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. n.d. “Identify & Evaluate Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease | NIDDK.” NIH.gov. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/professionals/clinical-tools-patient-management/kidney-disease/identify-manage-patients/evaluate-ckd.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2019. “Chronic Kidney Disease Tests & Diagnosis | NIDDK.” NIH.gov. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/tests-diagnosis.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2016. “Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease | NIDDK.” NIH.gov. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/causes.
- “Screening for Chronic Kidney Disease: Recommendation Statement.” 2014. American Family Physician 89 (4): online–online. AAFP.org. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2014/0215/od1.html.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2019. “Managing Chronic Kidney Disease | NIDDK.” NIH.gov. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/managing.