How Chronic Kidney Disease Is Diagnosed

Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. Nephritis, nephrosis, and nephrotic syndrome are all caused by kidney inflammation, which led to more than 50,000 fatalities in 2016 alone.

There are over 30 million people estimated to have chronic kidney disease, representing about 10 percent of the adult population in the United States. Surprisingly, 9 out of 10 people have stage-3 chronic kidney disease and are unaware of it.

More women suffer from chronic kidney disease than men, but men with this condition are 50 percent more likely to develop end-stage kidney failure.

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is characterized by multiple symptoms that exhibit over time. However, many of these symptoms can also indicate other illnesses, which is why diagnosis is imperative.

Symptoms can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in urine output
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia
  • Impaired mental sharpness
  • Difficulty controlling high blood pressure
  • Itching that won’t subside

Diagnosing Chronic Kidney Disease

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, speak with a health care provider. The doctor will ask you about your family’s health history, your symptoms, and what other health conditions you have – such as high blood pressure.

A urinalysis and blood analysis may be completed, and the doctor will check your blood pressure and kidney function. If the analyses indicate anything of concern to the doctor, a biopsy may be ordered.

The various diagnostic tests for kidney disease are:

Blood Tests 

Your doctor will order tests to determine the level of waste in the blood. The kidneys produce creatine and urea.

Creatine is an amino acid. Urea is a product of ammonia and carbon dioxide, produced in the liver and delivered to the kidneys to be excreted through urine.


You will be asked to submit a urine sample for analysis. The urine is tested in a lab and will reveal whether there are abnormalities pointing to chronic kidney disease or any other health issue.


An ultrasound scan will reveal the size of your kidneys. Your doctor may also order additional imaging tests such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT scan (computed tomography scan).

If these reveal that further tests should be done, the physician may order a biopsy.


If the doctor suspects that you are at risk of kidney disease, he or she will order a biopsy of the kidneys. A biopsy involves removing a tiny sample of tissue to be sent for testing and analysis in a laboratory.

During a biopsy, you will be placed under local (not general) anesthesia. The doctor will remove a small sample of kidney tissue via a thin needle – the needle is long enough to be inserted through the skin and into the kidney.

Urologist in the Charlotte Area

If you or a loved one has issues regarding urinary health, or if you’ve noticed any changes in urine production or abdominal pain, contact Carolina Urology Partners today.

Call us at (704) 786-5131 or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form now. We look forward to serving you.

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