The main task of our kidneys is to filter waste and water molecules from our blood to create urine which can be excreted. Besides that, they also have other important functions such as producing hormones that help to control other pivotal body functions.
CKD (chronic kidney disease) describes the gradual loss of kidney function that can result in end-stage renal failure, a medical condition in which your kidneys can’t do their job properly anymore. The term ‘chronic’ is used because this kidney disease is slowly progressing over a longer period. The progression itself can vary from person to person. Some people can live with CKD for many years without major issues, while others might suffer from fatal kidney failure quite early.
When it comes to the point that our kidneys are not capable of doing their job anymore, dialysis or a kidney transplant might become necessary to maintain vital body functions.
The sooner you know about a potential CKD, the more you can do to avoid the worst case.
How a tiny protein can save your kidneys
Good news! A tiny protein called ‘albumin’ can help to detect kidney damage before it’s too late.
Albumin molecules can usually be found in your blood. However, if your kidneys are not working properly, it is possible that these proteins end up in your urine. A high amount of albumin in your urine is a medical condition called ‘albuminuria’.
As mentioned before, early stages of CKD often show no or merely unspecific symptoms. The only way to find out about your actual kidney status is testing. If you are suffering from diabetes, hypertension, a heart disease or have a known case in your family, you should think about having your urine checked regularly.
A quick screening for albuminuria can be done by your general practitioner. First, a urine sample will be collected at your doctor’s office. Afterwards your urine will be analysed with a test strip. The pads on the test strip will react with particles potentially present in your urine, such as albumin, and the result will be available within a very short time.
So, should you be potentially at risk of developing chronic kidney disease, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for a regular albumin screening – it might just save your kidneys’ life.