GFR: How Good is Your Renal Function?

Our health depends greatly on the function of our kidneys. Congestion of some part of the urinary passage, accumulation of acids due to a faulty diet, and too little an intake of fresh water, are the main causes of a great number of renal function issues.

Retention of fluids and soreness to touch, may indicate kidney malfunction. Puffiness of the eyes and face, or the tissues in the abdomen and legs can take place; and the back over the kidneys is often very tender in a person with kidney troubles. In severe cases the whole body can swell as the tissues become waterlogged because the kidneys are not functioning to eliminate fluids.

Glomerular filtration is a process of blood purification that occurs in the kidneys; it is the precursor to proper urine formation. By removing waste products through the glomerular-capsular membrane, our bodily fluids, blood pressure and electrolytes are balanced.

Measuring the flow of blood purification through the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), allows renal function to be accurately calculated. Creatinine, the molecule that is counted in this test, is a by-product of normal muscle use; if the kidneys become impaired for any reason, the creatinine level in the blood will rise due to poor filtration. This normally happens at a rate of 125ml per minute – anything lower than 60ml per minute is considered dangerous, because filtration and urine formation have essentially stopped at this point.

The glomerular filtrate is then reabsorbed into the blood after urine is made. The concentration of mineral and metabolic by-products is also controlled through this process. If the GFR result is abnormal, it means the purification of your blood is compromised, creating a toxic overload on the kidneys.

It is essential for diabetics to monitor their GFR flow rate continually, to assess renal function.  Blood glucose concentration can be thrown off in the filtration process if blood sugars are not closely watched; this causes a higher level of sugar molecules than the kidneys can handle.

Doctors will try to increase renal function with diuretics as a treatment for most filtration issues. This is a group of commonly used drugs that tend to increase urine output, with the intention of balancing the electrolytes in our bloodstream; especially sodium. They affect the functions of the nephrons, which are the filtering apparatuses of the kidney. There are several classifications of diuretics based on the mineral (sodium, chloride, or potassium) that they regulate; also by which tubules in the nephrons are affected by their actions.


Making lifestyle adjustments and taking herbal supplements can be a more natural way to help slow down or stop the damage that is happening to your kidneys. Because insufficient renal function can cause chronic kidney disease or total failure if not treated carefully, work with your healthcare provider if you are on prescription medications, to switch to more natural diuretics, as there are many available.


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The Importance of Healthy Renal Function

Renal function is key to successful homeostasis; this is the balancing act our bodies do to sustain life. The elimination of wastes and the amount of substances entering and leaving the bloodstream are regulated and filtered by our kidneys. These molecules are a concentration of many nutrients and by-products of metabolism. This filtering process also regulates the fluid balances of the body, directly affecting our blood pressure.

Kidneys are the body’s main source of blood purification. These bean-shaped organs lie on either side of your spine, towards the back, and are crucial to hormone production. Many renal hormones regulate important processes like red blood cell production, blood pressure regulation, glucose metabolism, lipid transfer, and cellular ph balance.

Process of purification by the kidneys:

  • Filtration – water, electrolytes and metabolic by-products are taken out of the blood.
  • Reabsorption – water and molecules are moved out of the kidney tubules, and then put back into the blood. This step prevents vital nutrients from being lost in the urine.
  • Secretion – waste products are filtered out and eliminated.

If you think that your kidneys are ailing or stagnated in any way, it would be best to concentrate healing efforts on normalizing renal function and detoxifying your kidneys. A great method for this is to drink plenty of water every day.

Increasing fluid intake in general, reduces the amount of minerals that can build up in your kidneys causing trouble. Plus, the fluids will also push through any toxins that may be present.

Avoiding dietary stresses is additionally beneficial, since these tax your renal function greatly. Some common daily habits that should be curbed are excessive coffee and alcohol, or eating too much protein and fats in your diet.

Another important factor to good kidney health is increasing daily activity and exercise. This will help induce sweating and move lymph throughout the body, taking the strain off the kidneys and aiding in detoxification.

Some wisdom can be taken from ancient Chinese medicine in that the kidneys are considered the storage site for our vital life essence; they are deemed responsible for healthy growth and fertility. A continual pattern of deficient energy (chi) in any organ is thought to correspond with long-term depletion of the kidneys. Much like modern medical theories in that many chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to compromised kidney health.

Control of blood glucose levels for diabetics is critical for kidney health. People with this disease that do not adequately monitor their sugar levels have a much higher risk of renal function complications.

So, diet control and lifestyle adjustments are critical for overall survival. People with high blood pressure should also keep everything in check, since the kidneys play a key role in its regulation too.

Basically, a healthy approach to renal function is to take care of your kidneys, and they will in turn take care of you.

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