In this informative article, revered consultant nephrologist Dr James Pattison sheds light on how eGFR test results, which indicate kidney function and health, are interpreted. The leading specialist also shares insight on the most effective lifestyle changes to help improve kidney function.
What is eGFR?
eGFR stands for estimated glomerular filtration rate. It is calculated from the serum creatinine which is the blood test used to measure kidney function. Serum creatinine is not linearly related to renal function and eGFR is easier to understand.
What is a normal eGFR?
A normal eGFR is greater than 90. However, with normal ageing, eGFR falls by about one per cent per annum.
What does it mean if my eGFR is below normal?
If eGFR is below normal it may be due to a true reduction of kidney function. However, it is also influenced by other factors such as increased muscle mass, reduced fluid intake and medications such as NSAIDs and ACE inhibitors.
What are the causes of a low eGFR?
Apart from the factors mentioned above, common causes of kidney disease include diabetes, hypertension, glomerulonephritis, vascular disease and inherited renal diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease and Alport syndrome.
What are the symptoms of a low eGFR?
Most patients will not have symptoms unless eGFR falls below about 20-25. As kidney function decreases below this level, symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, ankle swelling, loss of appetite and itching.
What are the treatment options for a low eGFR?
Treatment for most kidney diseases revolves around good blood pressure. For patients with proteinuria, treatment involves using ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor inhibitors. There is also increasing evidence for the use of SGLT2 inhibitors. Certain kidney diseases have specific treatments which is why an accurate diagnosis is important.
What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my kidney function?
Lifestyle changes which can help improve kidney function include losing weight, taking exercise, stopping smoking and eating a diet low in salt and animal protein.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr Pattison, visit his Top Doctors profile today.