When patients get their annual wellness visit done at New Horizons Primary Care, we order labs to calculate your eGFR. One of our patients wanted to know what is the significance of this and wanted to know how to get better number on this test. Hence this post.
What is eGFR?
eGFR is short for estimated glomerular filtration rate. Your eGFR is a number based on your blood test for creatinine, a waste product in your blood. It tells how well your kidneys are working. At the end of the test you get a number (two or three digit number), higher the number better is your kidney health.
A normal eGFR is 60 or more. If your eGFR is less than 60 for three months or more, your kidneys may not be working well. If you eGFR is below 15, you may need to start dialysis or have a kidney transplant. Use this scale to see what your eGFR may mean.
eGFR in normal range (greater than 90) with other signs of kidney damage, like protein in urine or physical damage to the kidneys
eGFR in normal range (60-89) with other signs of kidney damage, like protein in urine or physical damage to the kidneys
eGFR 30-59, moderate kidney damage
eGFR 15-29, severe kidney damage
eGFR less than 15, the kidneys are close to failure or have already failed
My eGFR came back lower than normal. How can I get that improved?
Good thing about wellness visit is that they catch the problems very young. If you learn your lesson and make life style modifications, you can avert progression of any disease. So here are some things you can do to help your kidneys to help you!
- Eat a lot of fresh or frozen vegetables
- Drink water (add a few lemon slices and mint sprigs to a large pitcher of water and store in your fridge for a cold and refreshing beverage)
- Cook with very little oil and salt
- Choose no-salt-added canned and jarred products
- Add herbs and spices instead of salt to your dishes for BIG flavor
- Choose whole grains (like brown rice) instead of refined grains (like white rice)
- Choose lean proteins like: chicken, fish, turkey, quinoa, beans, soy products - tofu, edamame, tempeh, soy milk, and on occasion: lean beef or lean pork
- Aim for 0.8 gm of protein per kg of body weight or:
- 8 ounces (~56 grams) of lean protein per day for the average man*
- 6 to 7 ounces (~46 grams) of lean protein per day for the average woman*
I have made life style modifications. What next?
Get the test repeated again in approximately 3 months to confirm that life style modifications are working. If your eGFR does not change and continues to decrease, you may have to be seen again to run a few additional diagnosis tests and figure out cause of Kidney injury.