Kidney Disease: A Dangerous Illness That Can Hit You With No Signs or Symptoms

An estimated 37 million adults in the United States are believed to have chronic kidney disease. The National Kidney Foundation reports that approximately 90 percent of those adults don’t know they have it. This is especially concerning during the coronavirus crisis since kidney disease puts you at greater risk for developing life-threatening complications from COVID-19. 

It is also reported that people with kidney failure had the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 among all Medicare beneficiaries, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Other staggering statistics include:

  • Due to certain risk factors, one in three Americans are at risk for kidney disease.
  • 660,000 people live with kidney failure.
  • 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant.

Kidney disease can strike anyone, young or old, at any time. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history.  Lifestyle changes and a healthy diet can sometimes slow the progression of the disease when caught in the early stages and sometimes can prevent kidney failure. 

Understanding Kidney Function

You have two kidneys; each one is about the size of a fist. They are located on either side of the spine near the lowest point of your ribcage. The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body through urine. The kidneys also regulate the body’s salt, potassium, and acid content.

Other ways your kidneys keep you healthy include:

  • Activates vitamin D for healthy bones.
  • Directs production of red blood cells.
  • Regulates blood pressure.
  • Keeps blood minerals in balance.

As part of an interrelated system, the kidneys are prone to damage if any disease alters the flow and/or chemistry of blood entering the kidneys or causes direct injury to the kidneys themselves.

Causes of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys cannot function properly. The abnormality usually appears as a protein in the urine. It is also marked by decreased kidney function for three months or more. 

Symptoms of poor kidney function include:

  • Swelling in face, hands, abdomen, ankles, and feet
  • Blood in urine
  • Puffy eyes
  • Difficult, painful urination 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Fatigue

Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease. This is when sustained high levels of blood glucose from uncontrolled diabetes can damage the kidneys and could lead to kidney failure.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is another risk factor. This condition can damage blood vessels in the kidneys.

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli, which are structures of blood vessels in your kidneys. These structures help filter your blood and remove excess fluids. If there is damage to these structures, your kidneys will stop working properly. 

In addition to kidney failure, kidney disease can cause a number of other health issues, including:

  • Nerve damage
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Weak bones
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Anemia

Monitoring Kidney Function 

Chronic kidney disease can progress silently over many years, with no signs or symptoms or with ones that are too general for a person to suspect as related to kidney function. However, there are tests available to help you diagnose and manage conditions affecting your kidney function. 

Any Lab Test Now® can be a critical partner for you in your quest to take control of your kidney health. We offer several tests that can help screen for problems. 

One of those tests includes a Renal Function Panel. This is a group of tests performed together to evaluate kidney (renal) function. The test measures the levels of the following substances in the blood to determine the current health of your kidneys.


  • Phosphorus – This mineral is vital to energy production, nerve and muscle function, and bone growth.
  • Calcium – One of the most important minerals in the body. This mineral aids in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, the formation of bones, and a healthy cardiovascular system.


  • Albumin – This protein makes up about 60 percent of the protein in the blood. One of the main functions of albumin is transporting hormones, vitamins, and ions like calcium throughout the body.
  • Electrolytes – These are essential minerals that are vital to normal body function including such as nerve conduction and muscle function. They are also vital to regulating the amount of water in the body for proper acid-base balance.
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Carbon Dioxide (Total CO)

Waste Products:

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – This is a waste product that is formed from the metabolism of protein, which is then carried to the kidneys and eliminated in the urine.
  • Creatinine – This is also a waste product produced by the body’s muscles and also eliminated by the kidneys.


  • Glucose – This carbohydrate supplies energy to the body. The level of glucose in the blood is used in the diagnosis and treatment of carbohydrate metabolic disorders (i.e., diabetes).

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including determining your kidney function.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

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