GFR: Understanding Glomerular Filtration Rate & Kidney Disease with tips to improve kidney function
Episode 60 - GFR: Understanding your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) & Kidney Disease with tips to improve GFR. If you have kidney disease, then you have heard about a measurement called GFR. Did you know your GFR is NOT a measurement of kidney damage? Let's take a look at what is GFR, how it is used with kidney disease (CKD), and how to improve GFR levels/rate.
• GFR stands for Glomerular Filtration Rate. This measurement helps determine how well your kidneys are functioning. It measures the volume of blood needed to pass through the kidneys in a given amount of time in order to filter a given quantity of a substance, given in mL/min. The easiest and most common substance to measure is Creatinine and that is what we will focus on in this video.
• The GFR looks at the rate at which your kidneys are filtering your blood – not how much damage you have. Those with damaged nephrons (filters), blood vessel damage within the kidneys or reduced blood flow to the kidneys will have a lower filtration rate.
• GFR can’t be measured directly, so estimation is done based on one of several available formulas looking at your age, race, gender, the amount of creatinine in your blood, and possibly other factors. It is also possible to do a creatinine clearance test using a 24-hour waste collection to get your estimated GFR or eGFR
• The eGFR test may also not be right for everyone. It may not be accurate if you are younger than 18, pregnant, very overweight, or very muscular.
• Your GFR tends to decline naturally as we age, even in people without kidney disease.
• The GFR scale goes from 0 to 120. Normal will vary with age since it declines naturally, but typically it is: person in their 20s GFR 116, 30s 107, 40s 99, 50s 93, 60s 85, over 70 75.
• If your GFR is not normal, your doctor will do other tests. Doctors look for abnormal leaking of protein, sugar, red, or white blood cells.
• There are 5 stages of Kidney Disease and the stage you are in is determined by your GFR.
• Since the GFR scale goes from 0 to 120 – it is not a direct conversion to the percentage of kidney function remaining. A GFR of 60 would mean your kidney is functioning at 50% of a young adult. And remember, it is natural for your kidney function to decline as we age.
• While it is not possible with current medical science to repair the damage to your kidneys, it is possible to improve your GFR in many cases. Remember, GFR measures how well your kidneys filter, not the amount of damage done to them.
• Since the kidney damage is always present, it is possible that you can improve your GFR through diet and lifestyle changes, then quickly lose those gains in your GFR through diet choices and other lifestyle factors.
• Our goal is to remove stress, inflammation, and the workload placed on our kidneys so that we can improve our GFR as best as possible for as long as possible. Find that goldilocks zone of diet and lifestyle choices to maximize our kidney's ability to filter waste and toxins from our blood. For most people, the right diet and lifestyle can also minimize or eliminate symptoms when a GFR is between 20 and 30.
• Some prescription medications, kidney infections, urinary tract obstructions, abnormal muscle breakdown and eating a large amount of meat can elevate creatinine levels in your blood, temporarily lowering your GFR.
• Tips to improve your GFR include eating a low inflammation kidney-friendly diet, staying properly hydrated, getting regular exercise, avoiding supplements with creatine, taking a probiotic like Renadyl ( https://www.dadvicetv.com/renadyl ), and avoiding the use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. Also managing the underlying cause of your kidney damage to prevent further damage – such as managing your blood sugar and blood pressure (take all prescriptions as prescribed by your doctor). These are areas your doctor and a dietitian can really help. They may also recommend a renal multivitamin like ProRenal+D ( https://www.dadvicetv.com/prorenal ).
• Last, don’t focus too much on your GFR. While it is an important number, it really doesn’t tell you much and is only one of several indicators of your health. You need to focus on your overall health and your labs. You can’t easily tell someone what to do with a GFR of 59 or 49. But you know what to do if you are suffering from anemia.
IMPORTANT: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Patients should always be under the care of a physician and defer to their physician for any and all treatment decisions. This video is not meant to replace a physician's advice, supervision, and counsel. No information in the video should be construed as medical advice. All medical decisions should be made by the patient and a qualified physician. This video is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE.
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