About the Test
A renal panel is a collection of measurements that provide multi-faceted information about the health of the kidneys. This panel test is performed using a blood sample and can play a role in early detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of kidney problems.
Early kidney disease usually does not have signs or symptoms. Testing is the only way to know how your kidneys are doing. It is important for you to get checked for kidney disease if you have the key risk factors - diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure.
The most common components tested in most renal panels include:
- Albumin – a protein that makes up about 60% of protein in the blood and has many roles such as keeping fluid from leaking out of blood vessels and transporting hormones, vitamins, drugs, and ions like calcium throughout the body.
- Urea – urea is a nitrogen-containing waste product that forms from the metabolism of protein; it is released by the liver into the blood and is carried to the kidneys, where it is filtered out of the blood and eliminated in the urine.
- Creatinine – another waste product that is produced by the body's muscles; almost all creatinine is eliminated by the kidneys.
- Electrolytes – electrically charged chemicals that are vital to normal body processes, such as nerve and muscle function; among other things, they help regulate the amount of fluid in the body and maintain the acid-base balance. Electrolytes include: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride.
- Phosphorus: Phosphorus is an essential mineral for your bones, teeth, nervous system, and muscles. Phosphorus comes primarily from the foods and drinks that you consume.
- Calcium: Calcium is a mineral that is vital for the bones, muscles, cardiovascular system, and nervous system. The main source of calcium is your diet, and the body stores calcium in the bones.
- Glucose: Also known as blood sugar, glucose provides energy for the body. Excess glucose in the blood, though, can be a sign of metabolic problems like diabetes.
- Total protein: There are several kinds of proteins that can be found in the blood, and total protein is a count of all of them. These proteins include albumin and multiple types of globulins, which are made by the immune system.
Purpose of the test
The purpose of a renal panel test is to find or rule out potential kidney impairment or disease. This panel may be used for diagnosis, screening, or monitoring.
- Diagnosis A renal panel may be ordered if the doctor believes that symptoms could be related to an issue affecting the kidneys.
- Screening. A healthcare professional may request a renal panel when someone has risk factors for kidney dysfunction such as high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, elevated cholesterol, or a family history of kidney disease
- Monitoring. Repeat testing with a renal panel can show if the condition of the kidneys is getting better or worse. This monitoring may be done after treatment for kidney disease. It can also be used to watch for changes to kidney function when taking medications that can cause kidney impairment.