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Old 10-18-2011, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
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I had a urinalysis done a couple days ago and my result is that I have a GFR of 72. I am only 37 but drink a few beers a day, been doing it for the last 3-4 yrs. It surprised me that it would have such an effect on the kidneys in such a short time since I hardly used to drink much before that.

My BP is perfectly normal and all my other readings are normal as well except my LDL which is quite high at 168, but i've had issues with my cholesterol in the past and did bring the LDL down in 2009 to 120 but now it's gone back up again because of my bad diet the last year when I was traveling. I also drank a lot last year mainly due to peer pressure, people having a good time and joined them...what can I say?

I am very physically active and am not overweight but my diet is crap (love junk food etc.) and I do drink beer so I want to make a lifestyle change now to correct that.

So here is my question to those of you more informed on this subject:

If I take steps to be very careful in the future regarding my diet, get plenty of exercise and go easy on the drinking (perhaps 1-2 beers a week or less) can I expect my kidneys to last a lifetime without issues (upto perhaps age 85-90)?

I am reading that the normal rate of decline of GFR is around .4-1.2, that's quite a big range. How low can the GFR go before one has issues with their kidneys? is it a GFR or 30? Is there any way to slow the rate of GFR decline? Any foods that I can eat?

I understand this is a technical question and hoping someone here is knowledgeable in this area My doc said I am just fine and healthy except for my cholesterol level that I need to address but I am unnecessarily worrying my kidneys.. I am just want to be proactively concerned.
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Old 10-19-2011, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
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This will get you started:

http://www.kidney.org/atoz/pdf/urinalysis.pdf

National Kidney Foundation: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) (http://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/ckd/knowgfr.cfm - broken link)

Glomerular filtration rate: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

The beer is probably not a cause of any kidney problems, but there are other health benefits to reducing your alcohol consumption. Your liver and brain will thank you!

A value of 72 is low enough to be of concern.

The next step would be to repeat the tests in a few weeks to confirm the original results.

What Abnormal Results Mean:

Levels below 60 mL/min for 3 or more months are a sign of chronic kidney disease. Those with GFR results below 15 mL/min are a sign of kidney failure.

Your doctor may recommend some additional testing to look for a cause of the problem.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:11 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Where do you get your info? According to my HMO, "Normal values are greater than 59." The lower the number, the worse the kidney condition, per my understanding. Please cite your sources, re: "A value of 72 is low enough to be a concern."
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
5,000 posts, read 8,029,485 times
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I researched this more and supposedly the test is not accurate over the value of 60. It can only measure values below 60 correctly... so anything above this should actually per standards be written as ">=60". I checked my previous test results and they all say ">=60" with no specific number which is why I was surprised to see 72. My serum creatinine number is 1.2 but values upto 1.5 are in the normal range.

I know I am fine now but I'm more concerned about the future given kidney function declines with age.

I'm fretting over this because I am not sure if I can now even drink a beer socially and I have to meet some friends over the weekend who are going to think I have gone LOCO if I say I cannot drink a beer but my health comes first.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:10 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Honestly, I have no idea what is "safe," re: alcohol consumption, but I do find it interesting that you are focusing on this one aspect of your health. What about your liver and brain?

Anyway, if you have any hesitation, just go on a cleansing/detox diet and drink lots of water and tell your friends you are on such a diet . . . doesn't really matter what they say . . . just a suggestion.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,479 posts, read 26,078,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
Where do you get your info? According to my HMO, "Normal values are greater than 59." The lower the number, the worse the kidney condition, per my understanding. Please cite your sources, re: "A value of 72 is low enough to be a concern."
Er, I did site my sources. Did you read the second one?

National Kidney Foundation: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) (http://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/ckd/knowgfr.cfm - broken link)

And see here:

Glomerular filtration rate: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia


"According to the National Kidney Foundation, normal results range from 90 - 120 mL/min. Older people will have lower normal GFR levels, because GFR decreases with age."

A GFR of 60 to 90 corresponds to mild decrease in kidney function. Therefore, I would be concerned about a 72.

Here is one calculator:

GFR Calculator - DaVita

Using OP's age (37) and creatinine (1.2) it gives us a GFR of 68. The creatinine of 1.2 is near the upper limit of normal. I would still be concerned that there is something going on that needs to be monitored.

I do see where some labs are reporting only "over 60", but that is really weird.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,479 posts, read 26,078,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
I researched this more and supposedly the test is not accurate over the value of 60. It can only measure values below 60 correctly... so anything above this should actually per standards be written as ">=60". I checked my previous test results and they all say ">=60" with no specific number which is why I was surprised to see 72. My serum creatinine number is 1.2 but values up to 1.5 are in the normal range.

I know I am fine now but I'm more concerned about the future given kidney function declines with age.

I'm fretting over this because I am not sure if I can now even drink a beer socially and I have to meet some friends over the weekend who are going to think I have gone LOCO if I say I cannot drink a beer but my health comes first.
Drinking beer makes you pee a lot but does not damage the kidneys.

Drinking a lot of alcohol, though, is not good for the liver and the brain.

Your lab is using a somewhat high upper limit of normal for the creatinine, usually it's 1.3. Has your creatinine by any chance shown a tendency to increase over the last several years?

Also see my reply to imcurious above.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Lake Station, IN
96 posts, read 269,902 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
I researched this more and supposedly the test is not accurate over the value of 60. It can only measure values below 60 correctly... so anything above this should actually per standards be written as ">=60". I checked my previous test results and they all say ">=60" with no specific number which is why I was surprised to see 72. My serum creatinine number is 1.2 but values upto 1.5 are in the normal range.

I know I am fine now but I'm more concerned about the future given kidney function declines with age.

I'm fretting over this because I am not sure if I can now even drink a beer socially and I have to meet some friends over the weekend who are going to think I have gone LOCO if I say I cannot drink a beer but my health comes first.
I'm not a doctor so this is just from what I know of kidney disease(husband has kidney failure and I go with him to dialysis).

Check with your doc but having a beer or two this weekend isn't going to kill your kidneys. Drinking every day of the week could affect them. You said you eat a lot of junk food. That is what I'd be worried about. Try to cut out the junk and start eating better. If you use salt on a lot of your foods, try to limit that. Sodium causes your body to retain fluid which puts stress on your heart, lungs, and kidneys. Eat fruits and veggies. Change your diet and then in a month or two, go back and have the test done again just to see if the number has gone down more. Also keep an eye on your blood pressure. You said it's fine but just check it every so often. High blood pressure can cause kidney disease.

There are different things that are looked at to determine kidney function. Northwest Kidney Centers- GFR Calculator

I put in your info in their calculator and they measure they same way that you said in your post. They don't give an actual number if it's above 60. I put it in DaVita's calculator and they said your GFR was 68 which could be stage 2 kidney disease. There's 5 stages with stage 5 being the point where you need dialysis or a transplant. As you can see, you get different info depending where you go. For a man your age, the average GFR is around 107. The quote below is from the link I posted.

Quote:
*If your eGFR was 60 or higher
Your doctor will look at other factors to make sure you do not have early-stage kidney disease.

These include:
• Your urine (for protein or blood)
• Your health history
• Your blood (for wastes and toxins)
• Your family’s health history
• Your blood pressure

Protect your kidneys by eating nutritious food, staying active and seeing your doctor regularly.
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
5,000 posts, read 8,029,485 times
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well, I have read conflicting reports on the net if GFR can be increased or not..some people say by following a good diet they were able to increase it by 10-15.

One thing bizzare is that my doc says to take care of my cholesterol and not worry about my kidneys since my BP and other readings are all normal. According to her GFR is not something that can be looked at by itself.

I have my previous report from 2009 and my readings were much lower across the board, my cholesterol then was only 188 total but GFR is listed as ">=60" on that report. I find it difficult to believe that in 2 years it could go down so much... I have been drinking about 2-3 a day, occasionally 4-6 but I am very active and only 145lbs, 5'6 which is hardly overweight. I don't normally drink hard alcohol...just beer.
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Lake Station, IN
96 posts, read 269,902 times
Reputation: 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by k374 View Post
well, I have read conflicting reports on the net if GFR can be increased or not..some people say by following a good diet they were able to increase it by 10-15.

One thing bizzare is that my doc says to take care of my cholesterol and not worry about my kidneys since my BP and other readings are all normal. According to her GFR is not something that can be looked at by itself.

I have my previous report from 2009 and my readings were much lower across the board, my cholesterol then was only 188 total but GFR is listed as ">=60" on that report. I find it difficult to believe that in 2 years it could go down so much... I have been drinking about 2-3 a day, occasionally 4-6 but I am very active and only 145lbs, 5'6 which is hardly overweight. I don't normally drink hard alcohol...just beer.
GFR tells how well your kidneys are removing waste from your blood. Most sites on the web say that 72 is adequate even though it is lower than normal. Probably why your doc isn't all that worried about it. What was your serum creatinine level in 2009? GFR is calculated by age, sex, serum creatinine level, and race. My husband has dialysis tomorrow afternoon so I'll ask the doc what he thinks about your GFR, drinking beer, etc. and get some free advice for you. The thing with kidney disease, it can happen slowly or quickly. Just depends on any other health conditions you may have and your lifestyle. Plus how soon it's diagnosed. My husband went from stage 3 to stage 5 in a matter of a few months but it was caught too late for the meds to be of any help. He wasn't overweight but he was diabetic and had high blood pressure. There's people at the dialysis center that went several years before reaching stage 5.
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