What to Know Before Ordering a Home Creatinine Test
Chronic kidney disease affects millions of people, and 9 out of 10 adults that have CKD have no idea that they do. At least one in three people that have severe CKD are also unaware that they have it, and something as simple as testing creatinine levels can help to combat this. This is one of the contributing factors to using a home creatinine test as a precautionary tool.
To get started, there are a few things that you need to know about these tests including how they work, their accuracy, and how to prepare for them. Keep reading to find out what you need to know.
What Does a Creatinine Test Do?
A creatinine test is meant to measure the levels of creatinine in your blood. The point of the test is to assess how well your kidneys are working. You can test creatinine levels with a blood or urine test. The main reason that a physician would put in an order for this type of test is to determine your actual kidney function.
It would often be ordered with a group of other tests such as one for blood urea nitrogen (BUN) for example. It’s also common to put in an order for a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) in conjunction with a creatinine test.
So what is creatinine and what does it do? Creatinine is a waste product that is produced by your body’s muscles that is filtered out by your kidneys.
If your kidneys have a buildup of that waste product, this is an indicator of impaired kidney functioning. This is also a sign of chronic kidney disease.
With the advances in technology today, there is a solution for monitoring this. Specifically, there are home tests for almost everything, and a home creatinine test could mean the difference between knowing that you need medical attention before a condition becomes too severe and not knowing until it does.
How Do They Work?
A serum creatinine test or creatinine clearance test are other terms for a creatinine test. It’s usually completed in one of two methods; a urine or blood test. The more complicated method is the urine test.
This test will often consist of collecting your urine for over 24 hours. After that 24-hour time frame, you will also have your blood drawn.
Your blood sample is used to test how much creatinine has been filtered by your kidneys during that 24-hour window. For the urine portion specifically, it would be collected into its appropriate container kept at room temperature.
You would be expected to drink at least eight glasses of water during the 24 hours. Keep in mind that while this is often done in a hospital setting, it can also be done at home. Because of all of the steps this type of test takes though, the popularity of home creatinine tests are growing.
An at home blood test is easier to use and to keep up with compared to a 24-hour urine exam. This type of test would often be a part of a kidney function test kit and if you have any concern of kidney impairment, it’s something that you should consider using.
Is a Home Creatinine Test Reliable?
A creatinine clearance test is one of the most accurate types of creatinine tests. This is when the level of creatinine present in your blood is compared to that of what is present in your urine. However, a blood test will always be more accurate if you are doing one of them as a standalone test.
At-home lab tests are very common at this point and are becoming more streamlined. They are beneficial for people that want to stay on top of their health while in the comfort of their homes. This is also a popular choice for kidney transplant recipients.
Aiding the Accuracy
Blood tests are specifically checking for your estimated glomerular filtration rate (EGFR). This is the actual measure of the health of your kidneys and your creatinine levels.
Testing for EGFR gives physicians the clearest and most accurate idea of how your kidneys are doing and help better outline any next steps, if needed. This type of at-home test is also a good precautionary measure for those that may experience diabetes complications.
How Should You Prepare for a Creatinine Blood or Urine Test?
The good thing is that an at-home creatinine blood test doesn’t require too much preparation before you take it. One of the most common questions is if you should drink a lot of water and if fasting is required. Luckily, fasting is not necessary before you take your at-home test.
Drinking a lot of water can help to lower your creatinine levels, but you want the test to be as accurate as possible. You should be eating and drinking as you normally would because this is what is going to contribute to the accuracy of your test.
You should also avoid any form of strenuous exercise for at least 48 hours before you take your test, as well as avoid consuming any more than 8 oz of beef or any other similar sources of protein for at least a day before your exam. In general, you should do is avoid eating red meat for those 24-hours and ensure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids.
Medical Care Isn’t a One Size Fits All
A home creatinine test is a way to save time without sacrificing quality medical care. An at-home test will only increase efficiency and not affect accuracy. Whether you need in-home or on-site services, there shouldn’t be hoops to jump through to get it.
To get industry-leading medical solutions that cater to a variety of needs, work with Precision Labs and request a consultation today.