The purpose of the eGFR test is to screen for kidney damage and decreased kidney function and it is used to detect the early stages of disease development. Mainly, eGRF is assessed with the use of a creatinine test. Doctors frequently order this kidney function test when they wish to create an evaluation of kidney disease. It can be used both to test for suspected kidney damage and to monitor patients with a previously diagnosed kidney disease. It can also be ordered for patients with hypertension and diabetes, as both of these conditions that can accelerate damage to the kidneys.
Generally the eGFR test is ordered when symptoms of kidney malfunction are present in a patient. The eGFR can easily be determined whenever a blood sample is tested for creatinine levels. The National Kidney Foundation recommends an eGFR calculation with every creatinine test performed. This kidney function test can be ordered whenever a doctor determines that a patient’s kidney function requires evaluation, whether it is part of a routine checkup or the doctor suspects a form of kidney disease to be present in the patient.
Early symptoms of renal disease can include, but are not limited to:
- Swelling in the ankles, thighs, wrists, face, abdomen, or around the eyes
- Bloody or foamy urine
- Decreased urine volume
- Difficulty urinating.
- Burning sensation or unusual discharge during urination. This can be seen alongside either an increase or decrease in urination frequency
- Pain where the kidneys are situated, which is the lower back just under the ribcage
- Hypertension or elevated blood pressure
As the disease gets worse another kidney function test may be warranted if symptoms include:
- More fluctuation in urinating frequency, such as urinating less or more often
- Itchy skin in any part of the body
- Fatigue, difficulty concentrating and exhaustion
- Low appetite, often accompanied by nausea or vomiting
- Numbness or swelling in the feet and hands
- Patches of dark skin pigmentation
- Muscle cramps
An eGFR test is one very reliable kidney function test for detecting renal disease than a creatinine test by itself. A test result of less than 60 ml/min is indicative of damage to the kidneys.
The levels of creatinine can vary as a response to protein consumption and by the mass of muscle tissue in an individual. Men will generally have higher levels of creatinine than children and women. Pregnant women tend to have a higher GFR as well.
Make sure you get your eGFR kidney function test regularly to track the progression of your condition.