Understanding GFR: A Guide for Patients

Understanding GFR: A Guide for Patients

What is Glomerular Filtration Rate?
Your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a measure of how well your kidneys are filtering wastes from your blood. Your GFR has been estimated from a routine measurement of creatinine in your blood.

Creatinine is a waste product formed by the normal breakdown of muscle cells. Healthy kidneys take creatinine out of the blood and put it into the urine to leave the body. When kidneys are not working well, creatinine builds up in the blood.

What does my GFR number mean?
As you get older, the average GFR number drops. However, a low GFR with a value below 60 suggests some kidney damage has occurred. This means that your kidneys are not working at full strength.

How important is my GFR number?
Your doctor will use your GFR number as one clue to how well your kidneys are working. Your doctor will also look at other factors, including:

• protein (albumin) in your urine
• diabetes
• high blood pressure

Depending on these factors, your doctor may decide that you have chronic kidney disease. If you have chronic kidney disease, controlling your diabetes or high blood pressure can help prevent more damage to your kidneys and other problems like heart attacks and strokes.

Last Modified Date: November 27, 2012

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