The kidneys perform a range of tasks in the body; among other things, they filter the blood and produce urine. They also help to balance the ions in the body. When something happens with the kidneys, this is primarily detected in the urine. Kidney stones are one example of a painful kidney disease. However, not only the urine is affected when something happens to the kidneys. Kidney failure may cause swelling, high blood pressure, fatigue and nausea. Untreated kidney failure is a life-threatening condition, and in a worst-case scenario it may result in a need for a kidney transplant if it goes on for too long. Problems with the kidneys may be due to a number of different factors. You may experience problems if, for example, you suffer from hereditary kidney disease, diabetes or untreated urinary tract infection, or if you are obese or a smoker.
Our kidney tests analyse levels of sodium, creatinine, potassium, calcium, albumin and other substances in the body. If one or more of these substances is out of balance, this can lead to various problems. Sodium regulates the water inside and outside the cells and the ion balance in the body. Creatinine is formed from muscle metabolism, and it is common for people who exercise hard to have higher creatinine levels than usual. Potassium also helps the muscles to function and coordinate. When the potassium level is too high, this is probably due to a problem with the kidneys. Albumin helps to move hormones around the body. If there are traces of albumin in the urine, this is a sign of a problem with the kidneys.