Kidney Dialysis Labs – Understanding Your Labs
Anyone approaching kidney failure may sometimes feel more like a test subject than a patient. There seem to be lab tests at every turn. Unfortunately, these tests are completely necessary in order to make sure that the dialysis is doing what it needs to be doing. They are also necessary to measure where you should be in the treatment process if you are not yet on dialysis. These are a few of the kidney dialysis labs you’ll need to take as you approach the later stages of kidney disease.
Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
This is actually an estimation doctors make from checking the levels of creatinine in your blood along with your age, race, gender, and other mitigating factors. The GFR helps doctors determine which stage of kidney disease you’re in. Dialysis becomes necessary once you reach stage five chronic kidney disease (CKD). Stage 5 is reached when your GFR is lower than 15. Once your GFR is less than 30 your doctor should begin discussing your treatment options for kidney failure.
Creatinine is a protein waste byproduct. Your kidneys normally eliminate creatinine. When they stop doing this, it is a good indication that they aren’t getting rid of other waste and that this waste is remaining in the body. Normal creatinine levels are between .8 and 1.4 milligrams per deciliter.
Blood Electrolyte Levels
Sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous are important minerals your body needs in order to function as it’s supposed to. However, there is a very delicate balance needed between them in order to deliver optimal results. Patients who are on dialysis or in later stages of chronic kidney disease have bodies that have lost or are quickly losing the ability to manage these electrolyte levels properly. The result of an excess of any one can have dangerous consequences including fluid retention, bone disease, and erratic heartbeats.
Kidney dialysis labs are taken regularly at various stages of chronic kidney disease in stages 3, 4, and 5 to measure the levels of these electrolytes. If the levels become problematic, your physician may order a renal failure diet in order to help keep them in check.
These kidney dialysis labs are all about results. It measures how effective dialysis. Blood is taken at the beginning and end of dialysis sessions to determine the Kt/V result. In this instance, Kt/V is a literal mathematic equation (K times t divided by V).
- K – Clearance (amount of urea removed) times
- T – Time (number of minutes in treatment) divided by
- V – volume (fluid in liters)
There are other kidney dialysis labs you’ll need to take during the process. These are among those you will see most often performed to help maintain the greatest possible health and quality of life as you prepare for renal failure. Understanding the various kidney dialysis tests that are required doesn’t remove the fear of the unknown from the equation. It’s almost always better to know what to expect and why whether it’s kidney dialysis labs or something else entirely.
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