Video: Kidney Function Test

Know Your GFR To Stop Kidney Disease: Robert Stanton, M.D.

Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure around the world. In the United States and Canada it is the leading cause of kidney failure. Twenty to 40 percent of people with diabetes develop kidney disease.

Kidneys filter waste products and excess fluids from the blood. If they fail, survival depends on either dialysis or a kidney transplant. Kidney disease can be slowed significantly if you're diagnosed early and treated.

Here at Joslin we recommend you have two tests performed annually to detect the earliest evidence of kidney disease.

The first is a special urine test that tracks excess protein in the urine, known as microalbuminuria. The normal albumin level in the urine is less than 30 mg. Anything that is persistently above that is abnormal and reflects an early sign of kidney disease.

The second test we recommend is a simple but important blood test that measures the level of creatinine, a substance normally present in the blood, and then puts the results into a formula called the MDRD equation that estimates the GFR-which is a reflection of your kidneys' filtering capacity. Make sure your doctor does these.


  • Have your urine tested annually for the presence of protein or albumin.
  • Have your creatinine tested and put into the MDRD equation to get your GFR.
  • And if the results of these tests are abnormal, have your doctor refer you to a kidney doctor for further treatment.

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