Understanding the Concept of Kidney Function Test

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I’m sure by now you know there’s an essential part of your body called kidney. You may have probably heard someone die from kidney failure or other related conditions. Sometimes we panic, because these complications put to death our loved ones, and we feel same can happen to us. But are you aware that there’s a way to check if your kidney is in good state or not?

Let me introduce you to kidney/renal function test. Just as how you filter unclean water containing visible particles to get rid of the dirt or waste, the kidney filters blood and removes unwanted and harmful waste in it. After filtration, it accumulates those wastes together with excess water from the blood to form urine.

This simply means if your kidney is at fault, a lot of waste shall be kept in your system, and that could be harmful for your health.

A Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) conducts the test. The health professional takes your blood sample for the test (or urine sample, for specific kidney function related tests). He/she comes out with values that represent the state of your kidney.

The parameters measured are mostly Urea, Creatinine, Uric Acid and Electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Bicarbonates). If you skipped the scientific names, welcome back. Don’t let it scare you. I’ll do my best to break it down for you in simple terms the best possible way.

The underlining principle is that the analyzer quantifies the chemicals in your serum (the liquid portion of your blood that the professional draws from you) that are filtered by the kidney to form urine. Your kidney is constantly doing its job, but definitely some of these chemicals will still be in the blood stream. So after quantification, if the above mentioned chemicals are above or below what is expected to be there (according to a reference range), then it indicates your kidney may not be in a good state.

For instance, 98% of all Creatinine produced in the body is excreted or removed by the kidney. So if you have a lot of it in your blood stream… yes, you said it, the kidney isn’t doing its job properly. It’s a similar thing with urea. All the parameters mentioned above put together gives a broad picture of how your kidney is functioning.

The results are evaluated by the MLS and physician to identify what exactly is wrong with your kidney, i.e. if your results are abnormal. Further tests may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis. And appropriate remedy is administered right after. Kidney related conditions are easier to be treated when realized early enough. To conduct your kidney function test, kindly call/SMS/WhatsApp +233 540 666 781.

PS: This article was written by Joseph Ofori, a graduate of University of Ghana, and a practising Medical Laboratory Scientist. It was proofread by MLS Alexander Kwakye, a Modern Medical Associate and MLS at University Hospital, KNUST.

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