Kidney Function Tests

Kidney damage is unlikely to be noticed by the patient because symptoms are not obvious. This means kidney damage is easy to miss, making regular tests essential.

People with scleroderma can develop very high blood pressure due to changes to the blood vessels in the kidneys. The kidneys may become starved of oxygen and dangerously high blood pressure could damage other vital organs.

If this goes undetected it can lead to 'renal crisis', which requires immediate hospital admission and may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What is it?

Blood tests can check how much of a waste substance called creatinine is in the blood. Creatinine is usually removed from the body by the kidneys, so high levels in the blood may indicate that the kidneys aren't working properly. This value is used to calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which estimates how many millilitres of waste your kidney filters in one minute.

How is it performed?

These simple tests usually only require a blood sample.

What do the results mean?

If your GFR is less than 90 millilitres per minute, your doctor may perform other tests, including a urine sample to check for protein. An ultrasound or MRI may also be done to assess kidney structure.

Based on the results, your doctor may prescribe commonly prescribed medication to lower your blood pressure.

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