UACR urine test
The earliest way to find out if you are at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) is by taking a UACR (urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio) test once a year. A UACR test can detect how much small protein, called albumin, is in your urine. This is the earliest indicator of kidney damage. A damaged kidney can’t filter as well as it should and lets some protein pass into the urine. A healthy kidney doesn’t let any protein pass into the urine.
A UACR test is usually the earliest indicator of kidney damage, but isn’t always part of a routine health screening and is different from usual urinalysis tests that are commonly used at doctor’s appointments, so be sure to ask your healthcare provider specifically for a UACR test.
Kidney function test (eGFR)
An eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) test is a blood test that measures how well your kidneys filter waste from your blood and how well your kidneys are functioning. Your eGFR is a number based on how much creatinine is in your blood. Creatinine is a waste product and healthy kidneys remove it from your blood. As kidney disease gets worse, less creatinine is removed by the kidneys, leading to higher levels in the blood.
An eGFR test is used to measure how well kidneys are functioning, but it is not as accurate as a UACR test to show if you are beginning to develop CKD. This is because in early stages of CKD, you can still have close to normal kidney function even if your kidneys have mild damage. Once your kidney function begins to decline, as measured by an eGFR test, the damage cannot be reversed, but there are steps you can take to slow the progression of CKD.
The difference between UACR and eGFR tests
Importance of chronic kidney disease testing and prevention
When it comes to your kidney health, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about getting screened for chronic kidney disease with a urine test, called a UACR, once a year. The sooner you catch CKD, the more you can do to slow its progression and prevent future kidney damage. If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with your doctor, our doctor discussion guide can help.