How Can I Check My Kidneys at Home?

How Can I Check My Kidneys at Home?

what are the signs that something is wrong with my kidneys?

Albumin home test kits and smartphone-enabled home urinalysis devices are available to check your kidney function at home.

If a person is suffering from chronic kidney disease or suspects kidney damage, albumin home test kits and smartphone-enabled home urinalysis device are available to check for kidney function at home.

  • Simple urine test: Usually, albumin is not present in urine. This test kit is convenient and can accurately diagnose albuminuria (presence of albumin in the urine), which is a sign of kidney damage. A person may keep a record of the extent of albuminuria and plan a visit to the doctor accordingly.
  • Smartphone-enabled home urinalysis device or test: This enables users to conduct a urinalysis test at home and share the results with their doctors. A person may get more detailed information on
  • Clinical symptoms: Such as urine color, presence of blood, or foul odor, and generalized body edema may be monitored along with regular blood pressure charting.

Kidneys are a pair of fist-sized, bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine below the rib cage.

8 major functions of the kidney 

  1. Regulation of electrolytes, such as salt, potassium, and acid content
  2. Excretion of waste products
  3. Removal of excess fluid to maintain fluid-electrolyte balance
  4. Removal of drugs
  5. Maintain a balance of chemicals
  6. Release hormones to regulate blood pressure
  7. Production of the active form of vitamin D
  8. Controls red blood cell production

Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, and about 37 million Americans are estimated to have kidney disease. However, many of the cases are often ignored and remain unnoticed or undiagnosed, or the symptoms appear at a very late stage of the disease.

If a person is older than 60 years or at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of kidney failure, it is essential to visit a doctor and analyze kidney functions on an annual basis.

How is kidney disease diagnosed?

The following tests are used to diagnose kidney diseases:

  • Urine test: To check for the presence of protein or blood in the urine.
  • Blood tests:
    • Serum creatinine: According to the National Kidney Foundation, a creatinine level higher than 1.2 mg/dL for women and 1.4 mg/dL for men is a sign of a kidney disorder.
    • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): Normal blood levels should be between 6 and 20 mg/dL. A value higher than this indicates a kidney problem.
    • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) calculation: The doctor can calculate it from the blood creatinine, age, ethnicity, gender, and other factors.
  • Ultrasound or computed tomography scan: Detects problems in the structure of the kidneys and the urinary tract.
  • Kidney biopsy: A sample of kidney tissue is sent to a laboratory to be visualized under a microscope.

How can you prevent getting kidney disease?

A person can prevent kidney diseases by adopting the following measures:

  • Consume a healthy and balanced diet: Eat a low-sodium and low-fat diet, including fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  • Regular exercise: Increase physical activity and try to be active for at least 30 minutes on most of the days.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid or quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Control diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease

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Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2021


Image Source: iStock Images

National Kidney Foundation. Using a Home Test Kit and Smartphone to Test for Kidney Disease.

University of Michigan Health System. Home Test for Protein in Urine.

National Kidney Foundation. 10 Signs You May Have Kidney Disease.

Khatri M. Warning Signs of Kidney Problems. WebMD.

National Kidney Foundation. CKD Symptoms and Causes.

National Kidney Foundation. How Your Kidneys Work.