Kidneys. How important are they? REALLY IMPORTANT. I have told my kids that the organs that I think are most importance… in order of importance is the brain, then heart, then the kidney.
Kidney disease affects 47 million people in the United States and is associated with significant health care costs, morbidity and mortality. Kidney disease is silent in its early stages. It is best to initiate interventions early.
How to watch for kidney health? Some guidelines recommend annual screening with blood work and a urinalysis (but The American College of Physicians and the US Preventive Services Task Force do not suggest yearly labs for those not at increased risk). These labs are especially important for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and those with a history of heart disease. There are markers of kidney damage: increasing creatinine and albuminuria. If the serum creatinine is persistently elevated and if there’s albumin in the urine those are concerning findings.
When you should see a nephrologist? When the glomerular filtration rate (a lab finding) is less than 30 mL per minute, persistent urine albumin/creatinine ratio greater than 300 mg per gram or if there is evidence of rapid loss of kidney function.
Do you want to calculate your risk of progression to
end-stage renal disease? Go to http://kidneyfailurerisk.com/
Call your family physician for a well adult visit.