I am 56 yo female. Father died of renal failure when he was 70. For the past 4 years my eGFR has been slowly going down, and creatinine going up. Last June eGFR was 36. In early September eGFR was suddenly above 60 – first time in 4 years. And creatinine was also back in the normal range. My question: should I trust this most recent blood test results and believe that my kidneys are back to full functioning?

It is best to average the tests over time.  A single laboratory value that does not fit with the other values should be repeated to see if there is a potential of laboratory error for that day.  If it is repeated and remains in the normal range, then it becomes more believable

Posted in Chronic Kidney Disease, GFR, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Laboratory Testing

I would like to know what stage and what is the function of my father kidneys? His kidney function results are BUN 28 , creatinine is 2.9 and the electrolytes , sodium is 140.1 , potassium 5.38 and chloride 110.2 .

I suggest that you go to our web site and calculate his estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) for yourself.  You can calculate the eGFR and then go to the link that translates this into a Stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD).  The calculator can be found at:  http://www.kidney.org/professionals/KDOQI/gfr_calculator

Posted in Chronic Kidney Disease, GFR, Kidney-Related Health Questions

My mom has been diagnosed as stage 4 kidney failure. The doctor took her off some high bp meds and told her they would recheck her in 3 mos to see if her kidneys are working better – she is at 21% kidney function. She is 70 yrs old and just retired – lives alone and did really well up until recently. She went to her former place of work today and got so weak going into get some papers signed she almost passed out. She said she called nurse direct and they said this is a “normal symptom of kidney failure” and she should drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest. Should I urge her to get in to her doctor sooner?

Weakness and fatigue are common symptoms of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD).  If she continues to have symptoms over several days, then she may need to see her physician.  If she has more symptoms of passing out or passes out, then consulting her physician would seem appropriate.

Posted in Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Symptoms and Side Effects

For the last several years my urine tests show traces of protein. I don’t have lab values in front of me but I have had abnormal 24 hour urine test as well as normal. Last fall I had a GFR of 59 but then in January 2014 it was in the 70s and then last week it was 44. My creatinine was in normal range at 1.26. In the last 6 months I’ve had a lot of swelling in my feet and ankles that may take days to subside. When I can’t get them to go down after elevation for several days I will take Triamertine but my doctor doesn’t want me to take it too often. I have been on blood pressure medicine in the past but currently I’m not taking anything because it started going down to 80s/50-40s so of course had to go off. I was taking metoprolol because it also helped with arrhythmia and tachycardia. I was diagnosed with diabetes 2 in the past but I lost weight after being diagnosed and my A1C has been under 6 so my doctor downgraded to glucose intolerant. I also have been diagnosed with lupus profundus (positive biopsy), lupus sle and sjogrens. > > I do sometimes experience pain trying to urinate as I feel like I need to go but then can’t. I feel I’ve been retaining fluid though out my body, having increased headaches, have unexplained itching mainly on arms, fatigue but that goes with most of what I have. I also do get up frequently at night to go. > > I read if your GFR is below 60 for over 3 months you could be in stage 3 kidney disease. I was wondering since my other serum labs are not out of range what a low GFR means given the consistent protein in the urine and other symptoms? Also I did see a nephrologist several times trying to be proactive given at that time the presence of protein and history of medical problems. He was checking my urine about every 6 months and had talked about if other signs showed up possibly doing a biopsy because of the lupus. Unfortunately my insurance plan changed and I haven’t seen him since the GFR has been in the abnormal range last year and now. Do you think there is enough information to justify a biopsy at this point?

The decision to perform a kidney biopsy can only be a decision between you and your nephrologist.  There are many factors that have to be considered before electing to take the risk of performing a kidney biopsy.  The main question that I ask is whether the biopsy result would change the management of your condition.  If the treatment will not change, then the biopsy is not indicated.  If a specific diagnosis is necessary to recommend treatment, then a biopsy may be helpful.  I recommend continued discussions with your primary care physician and your nephrologist.

Posted in Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney Biopsy, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Nephrologist

My brother has kidney stones made of cystine, he has been producing them since he is 13, he is now 18 and has had more than 14 interventions. Currently, he has a catheter in both kidneys.  Doctor, Do you know what could be producing the stones, the exams show he is in perfect health and the doctors don’t know why he is producing them. 

Cystinuria is a genetic disease, hence your brother was born with this disease.  You can review information about kidney stones in children, including cystine stones at:  http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/stoneschildren/

You can also review information about kidney stones in adults, including cystinuria at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/stonesadults/index.aspx


Posted in Kidney Stones, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Symptoms and Side Effects

I am a 74 year old white male with stage 3 kidney disease.  Creatinine level is 1.7.  My BP and cholesterol are under control. No protein or blood in urine. No diabetes. My Testosterone level was borderline low. My primary physician wrote me a prescription for Androgel.  After two weeks use I had problems urinating, slow to start and dribbling. I currently take Alfusozin for BPH. I’m certain Androgel had an adverse effect on my BPH. Consequently, I discontinued using Androgel. Finally, my question….I would like to try an alternative to Testosterone. The product which interest me has the following ingredients. Is this product safe to take without jeopardizing my compromised kidneys?   Supplement Facts: Serving size: 1, servings per bottle: 30 (1 month supply) Each bottle contains: 30 veggie capsules. Directions: As a dietary supplement, take 1 capsule daily with food or as directed by your physician. Amount % Daily Value: Nettle Root Extract (Urtica dioica) standardized to 0.8% sterols 200 mg * LJ100® Eurycoma Longifolia Extract (40% GlycoSaponins, 22% Eurypeptides) 100 mg * Fenugreek Seed Extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum) standardized to 50% saponins) 50 mg * Horny Goat Weed Powder (Epimedium saggitarium) (stem and leaf)  50 mg * *Daily Value not established Other ingredients: Cellulose, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide. Other information: Free of milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soy. Quality Pledge: Made in the USA in an FDA inspected facility to meet the stringent standards of US Pharmacopeia (USP) for quality, purity, potency and disintegration.

I have no experience with the supplement that you describe.  I would agree that your Androgel may be a problem.  I can only suggest that you consult with your primary care physician about your symptoms.


For general information about herbal supplement in CKD please click here.

Posted in Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Medication and Kidney Disease, Medication and Kidney Function, Symptoms and Side Effects

Are there certain kinds of kidney stones that can not be blasted by means of lithotripsy? > I have had many stones blasted by this method with no problem, however, the one I have now, is the first one in which the lithotripsy has had no effect.

The question that you ask is a urological question.  I am a nephrologist and do not perform lithotripsy.  I am aware that some stones cannot be treated with lithotripsy but I do not know which ones can and which ones cannot.  I suggest you consult with your urologist.

Posted in Kidney Stones, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Urological Issues

My son’s doctor thinks he has IGA. I have been reading up on it and it seems that they have found that a bacteria called Haemophilus parainfluenzae that effects the tonsils and is common in patients with IGA.

Antibiotics have not been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of IgA nephropathy.  In order to be sure of the diagnosis, a kidney biopsy must be done to be certain of the diagnosis.  Studies regarding the tonsils as a cause of IgA nephropathy have been very controversial and inconsistent.

Posted in IgA Nephropathy/IgA Dominant Glomerulonephritis, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Treatments

My sister has CKD. She is quite well at the moment, except she is being driven mad by itchy skin. It started on one of her fingers and has spread to her face and neck. She recently had a blood test and a doctors appointment and was told things were much the same (stage 3, I think). She mentioned the itchy skin, but the doctor didn’t seem to think it significant. How can she treat it?

Stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD) does not typically cause itching.  Your sister may have to consult with a dermatologist.  I am unable to offer treatment recommendations without performing a complete history and physical examination.

Posted in Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Symptoms and Side Effects

I am in stage 4, and would like to know if my urge to urinate is related to my kidney disease? Can I take energy drinks to give me some energy or is it just part of the disease?

Fatigue and lack of energy are common symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD).  Frequent urination may also be seen in patients with CKD.  I do not recommend you take energy drinks.

Posted in Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney-Related Health Questions, Symptoms and Side Effects