The Joslin Clinical Guidelines for Adults with Diabetes recommend that everyone who has diabetes should get two tests at least once a year to measure the health of their kidneys.
The risk of developing kidney disease is much higher for those with diabetes. So, just as you should have an annual eye exam and foot exam, if you have diabetes, a kidney test is just as important.
There are two tests that will report back on the health of your kidneys.
The first is a urine test specifically to monitor kidney health. This test filters your urine through a special machine designed to check the level of albumin. Albumin (microalbuminuria) is a protein that appears in high amounts when your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. Anything less than 30mg is considered a normal amount. If your doctor finds an amount consistently above that level, it’s likely an indicator of early kidney disease and signals it’s time to see a kidney specialist.
The second test is a measure of the level of creatinine in your blood. Creatinine normally appears in the blood, but will appear in far more concentrated amounts if your kidneys are having trouble functioning. Your doctor will take your blood test results and plug them into a formula known as the MDRD equation to gauge the filtering ability of your kidneys, also known as your GFR.
Remember what we tell patients in the clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center:
- 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.
Have any of you been to a kidney specialist before? Were they helpful?