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Friday, September 25, 2020

What is an Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR)?

     If you have had a Basic Metabolic blood test you may have noticed a result called eGFR and wondered what it means. 
     Estimated glomerular filtration rate is the best test to measure your level of kidney function and determine your stage of kidney disease. 
     It is calculated based on the results of your blood creatinine (a waste product that comes from the normal wear and tear on muscles of the body), your age, body size and gender. Your GFR tells your doctor your stage of kidney disease and helps the doctor plan your treatment. 
     Speaking of creatinine levels, besides impaired kidney function, factors that can raise levels include: certain medications, including some antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, a high intake of protein, strenuous exercise, low blood flow, dehydration, shock, infections, and serious illnesses such as cancer. 
     If a blood (or urine) test shows a high creatinine levels the doctor may perform further tests to identify the cause. A person may be able to reduce their creatinine levels by making some of the following changes to their diet. 
* Reducing protein intake - According to a 2014 study, eating cooked red meat may increase levels of creatinine. Red meat is muscle tissue, which naturally contains creatine and cooking causes the creatine to break down into creatinine. When a person eats the meat, their body absorbs the creatinine, and their levels may rise. Eating less red meat and fewer fish products may reduce high creatinine levels. A person might try incorporating more sources of vegetable protein, such as beans, in their diet. Dietary fiber helped lower creatinine levels in people with chronic kidney disease. Many plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, and whole grains, contain fiber. 
*Avoid dehydration - Creatinine levels can rise when a person is dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include thirst, dizziness, and fatigue. Severe dehydration can put strain on the cardiovascular and other systems and can be life threatening. Drinking water is the best way to correct or prevent dehydration. 
*Some supplements can increase creatinine levels. Many athletes and bodybuilders take supplements containing creatine to build muscle strength and endurance and for energy, but if the muscles do not use it, the body converts it into creatinine resulting in high creatinine levels that doctors may misinterpret as kidney disease. 
*Diuretics - They can raise creatinine levels in people with kidney disease. 
An eGFR of under 60 for 3 months is consistent with chronic kidney disease. 
     If your GFR number is low, your kidneys are not working as well as they should. The earlier kidney disease is detected, the better the chance of slowing or stopping its progression.

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