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Interpreting Your Laboratory Results

One of the most common reasons to see a kidney specialist is for elevated creatinine levels.

One of the most common reasons to see a kidney specialist is for elevated creatinine levels. Elevated creatinine can be an early sign that you have a disease affecting your kidneys’ function to keep your blood clean. If you have elevated creatinine, it is important to see a kidney doctor to explain your value to you and what it means. 

Is Elevated Creatinine Serious?

Some patients have elevated creatinine levels that can improve if a cause is identified and treated. It is good to know your creatinine value when discussing your medical history with a kidney doctor, but try not to worry until you speak to a doctor.

Mild changes in the creatinine number up or down are common and not necessarily suggestive of a significant change in the status of your kidney disease. It is best to review your range of values over a long period of time.

What is Glomerular Filtration Rate?

GFR is another reported value on your blood work that may prompt your doctor to have you see a kidney specialist. This stands for glomerular filtration rate, which is what we use to stage your kidney disease. You can think of this as a percent of kidney function relative to normal. Many patients can have little or no symptoms of kidney disease until this number gets below 20. 

The most common stage of kidney disease is stage 3, and that means the GFR is between 30 and 60. You may see this listed as CKD Stage 3. The majority of patients can remain in this stage for years if they have the proper management, and they would have no significant symptoms related to kidney failure.

The benefit of seeing a kidney doctor is to monitor these labs and try to maintain or improve the kidney function for as long as possible. Preventing progression is key to overall kidney health!

What Else Will I See On My Laboratory Results?

You will also see a number of different electrolytes reported with your blood work. Most of these will have reference ranges. These are being monitored each time your blood is drawn. There will occasionally be mild fluctuations in electrolytes from the normal range. Typically, if they are concerning enough, you will be contacted by the office. Otherwise, they can be reviewed at your office visits with a kidney specialist.  

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At The Kidney and Hypertension Center, we provide consultation and ongoing care to prevent and treat hypertension. Schedule your appointment today!

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