My Latest Labs for CKD and What They Mean

OK, I am not an expert on lab readings, but I do know how to read them, and ask questions where needed.  I will share my most recent labs, and for the previous year, and tell you what I think is significant.  If you have CKD, then you know it is a balancing act trying to keep everything in line.  The kidneys don’t just remove waste, they also make a hormone called Erythropoietin that plays a very important roll in the body’s ability to make Red Blood Cells.  Kidneys also control blood pressure.  Healthy kidneys are rich with Vitamin D receptors that turn Vitamin D into it’s active form to be used by the body.  This helps control Calcium and Phosphorus levels.  Keeping everything working correctly with a damaged kidney is like a seesaw.

First let me say, I thought I was GFR of 57 last July, just 3 points away from being stage 2.  This was so encouraging, but alas I forgot I actually had my Nephrologist cancel that appointment, so I never actually saw those labs.  I have since downloaded the app from my Lab provider so I can check all my labs, whether I see the MD or not.  So far, except when I was initially sick, I have been able to maintain all my levels, including Iron, which is encouraging.  So, I will stop taking the multivitamin, and just take the Vitamin D supplement.  Multivitamins with Iron cause constipation, and trust me that is not fun.

So here are the labs, that have been out of range over the last year for January, July and then January again:

Creatinine in my blood:  1.13, 1.29, and 1.23  While this is only slightly high it is still the  most frequent marker for kidney disease.  I will continue to try to figure out a safe way to decrease it.  Now that I am working out regularly, I might have to cut protein intake to get it down to normal.  Of course there is the chance that may never happen, but won’t stop me from trying.

estimated GFR:  57, 49, and 51.  GFR is an estimate, but when I pulled up the graph of the values, when my GFR was highest, my urine protein was actually below normal.  So, that leads me to believe that I can keep my protein levels high enough to maintain body functions, but low enough to help my kidney status improve.  I do have to clarify this with the MD to  make sure there is not some other reason my urine protein would be below normal.

PCR: below normal, 113, 139  Again, note that in January of last year, when my GFR was it its highest, my PCR was below normal.  PCR is the protein creatinine ratio in a random urine sample.  While the other 2 numbers are normal, my GFR was also lower.

Creatinine urine:  19, 53, 36.  Again note with the higher GFR one year ago, the amount of creatinine in my urine was below normal at 19.  In July of last year, the appt I missed it had gone all the way to 53, and a huge dip in my GFR all the way to 49.  I have been racking my brain because I was still following the renal diet.  But, I also sustained an injury while pushing myself when walking.  We were speed walking, and I ended up with a pretty severe case of Plantar Fasciitis.  The injury took many months to completely heal, and I started a new job during that time where I was literally on my feet 8 hours.  It is my opinion that the injury caused my body to have increased protein synthesis to help aid the injury to repair causing the changes without diet change.

Protein urine:  less than 4, 6, 5  Again, below normal protein meant a higher GFR.  How they calculate the GFR, and PCR is still not completely understandable to me, but I am hoping he will take a minute to try and explain it to me.  I will also be discussing with him having a Cystene C with my next set of labs, in July to see what the GFR shows.

In conclusion, I felt the same no matter the GFR, and I know for a fact when my GFR was lower in 2017 I felt awful.  That leads me to think that the GFR may not be the most effective way to test my kidney function.  It is scary though, if I have to worry every time I get an injury, or infection, that my kidney is going to lose some of its function.

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