Chronic Kidney Disease

Patients

Patient Information about
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

CKD describes the gradual loss of function in your kidneys,1 which play an important role in filtering your blood and removing waste products.
If your kidneys are damaged or have reduced function, waste products build up in your body, but the early stages of CKD often have very few symptoms
before irreversible damage occurs in the later stages of CKD. 

Fortunately, a simple blood and urine test can help assess the health of your kidneys. The earlier you know, the earlier your doctor can help
manage your disease and monitor your health. 

New Race-Free Equation for Chronic Kidney Disease Testing

We are now using a new, race-free equation to calculate the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a test used to assess kidney function. This change supports health equity and better health outcomes.


What are the Signs
& Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease can progress silently without many signs or symptoms.2 In fact, most people (96%) living with kidney damage or mildly reduced kidney function are not aware of having CKD3, highlighting the importance of talking to your doctor about testing if you have the following risk factors or symptoms:

Main CKD Risk Factors
 

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Family history of diabetes



     

Common Symptoms of
Later-Stage CKD

  • Feeling tired
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Blood or foam in urine
  • Urge to urinate often
  • Reduced appetite
  • Muscle cramps 
Patient in doctor office

Testing for CKD: Get a Clear Picture of Your Kidney Health

Health organizations recommend that you should be tested for CKD at least once a year if you have any risk factors or are experiencing some of the symptoms. Testing for CKD is straightforward, requiring only a blood draw and sample of your urine. Testing can be done at your doctor’s office or at one of nearly 2,000 convenient Labcorp locations with the Kidney Health Test Package. Results are returned in a few days for your doctor to discuss the findings and create a treatment plan for you, as needed. 


How Serious is CKD? 

CKD is a progressive disease that gets worse over time and may lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a transplant. 

To track your disease and determine which treatments can help limit or stop the progression of CKD, your doctor can order a laboratory test that measures creatinine (in your blood and urine) and albumin (in your urine). 

With information from your test as well as the potential cause of kidney damage, your doctor can determine how well your kidneys are functioning, help diagnose your stage of kidney disease and discuss appropriate treatment decisions.  

Grandmother

Woman looking toward camera while sitting on a couch

What type of test tells me if I have CKD?

Health organizations recommend at-risk patients, such as those with diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or who have a family history of kidney disease, should be screened at least annually for CKD.

It is recommended that at-risk patients have both of the following screening tests done:

  1. A urine test, known as the albumin-creatinine ratio (uACR), to detect or monitor potential kidney damage
  2. A blood test, known as the eGFR, to estimate kidney function

Talk to your doctor about your CKD risk and ask for uACR and eGFR testing.

What is uACR?

Urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR) is another important measurement that can provide early detection of kidney damage and also help monitor responses to treatments. Albumin is a protein that is normally found in the blood, but if the kidneys are damaged, albumin can leak into the urine. Creatinine is a normal waste product that the kidneys pass into urine.4 A laboratory test of urine measures the amount of albumin and compares it to the amount of creatinine detected to calculate your uACR.

What is eGFR?

Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is a calculation of how well your kidneys are functioning using results from your blood test. eGFR accounts for other factors such as your age and gender to help your doctor understand your risk or stage of kidney disease.

We have recently implemented a new race-free eGFR equation, as recommended by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the America Society of Nephrology.5

This equation may result in higher or lower eGFR values for some patients. See how your eGFR result may have changed with the NKF’s eGFR calculator.

Support & Resources for Living with CKD

If you have been diagnosed with CKD, there is no cure, but your doctor can help you manage your symptoms, reduce the likelihood of complications and slow or stop the progression of the disease. Controlling your blood pressure is important, as well as exercising and following a kidney-healthy diet. Talk to your doctor about the best ways you can care for your kidneys. 

You may also want to explore other CKD resources online:

Healthy Kidneys are Happy Kidneys
Infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

NKF Patient Network
Join the first nationwide registry for people at all stages of kidney disease to transform kidney care and research together.

Kidney Pathway
Get information about your kidney health with a few questions. 

eGFR Resources:

NKF’s eGFR calculator

Compare how your eGFR may have changed due to the new race-free equation.

Patient Q&A

Learn more about the race-free eGFR equation.

Be Informed:
Ask Your Doctor about Testing for Chronic Kidney Disease

References

  1. Chronic kidney disease. The Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 30, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354521 
  2. Chronic kidney disease overview. The Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 30, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354521 
  3. National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet, 2017. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed July 30, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/kidney_factsheet.pdf 
  4. Davis CP, Shiel Jr. WC. Creatinine Blood Test (Normal, Low, High Levels). MedicineNet website. Accessed August 2, 2021. https://www.medicinenet.com/creatinine_blood_test/article.htm 
  5. Miller WG, Kaufman HW, Levey AS, et al. National Kidney Foundation Laboratory Engagement Working Group Recommendations for Implementing the CKD-EPI 2021 Race-Free Equations for Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate: Practical Guidance for Clinical Laboratories. Clin Chem. 2021 Dec 16;hvab278
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