Kidney Problems

Diagnosis & Tests

Your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your health and review all the medicines you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications, and herbal or alternative products. Your provider will do a physical examination and have your blood and urine checked on a regular basis to measure your kidney function and detect any kidney damage.

Frequently used tests to check kidney health include:

  • Blood measurements of sodium, potassium, protein, and bicarbonate
  • Blood measurements of waste products that should be removed by normally functioning kidneys such as BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine.
  • Measurement of blood pressure
  • Urine tests, either with a small sample or by having you collect all of your urine for 24 hours. 

Other tests your healthcare provider may choose depend on the particular type of kidney disease you have. Some other tests are:

  • lipid profiles (tests for cholesterol and fat levels)
  • tests to visualize the kidneys and blood vessels (some examples are: renal artery duplex ultrasonography, ultrasound of the kidneys alone, computed tomography [CT] scan, or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] or angiography if a blocked renal artery is suspected)
  • kidney biopsy (when a small sample of kidney tissue is removed under anesthesia).


Last Updated August 2020