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Understanding Test Values

Understanding Test Values

Understanding what the results of tests done are to decide if you need dialysis, and/or how you are doing with your treatment, is important to successfully manage your kidney disease. Blood pressure tests are done before, during, and after your treatment. Glucose tests may also be taken depending upon your doctor’s instructions for your care. At least, monthly blood tests will be done while you are at dialysis, or when you come in for your monthly clinic visit if you do home treatment. Your doctor and care team will use this information to give you advice on steps you need to improve your results.


1.      Blood Pressure: Blood pressure is the force your blood puts on the walls of your blood vessels as your heart works. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and damage to the blood vessels. The guidelines presented in the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VII) are used in the KEEP program for classification of values and referral guidelines. The JNC VII classifications for adults 18 years and older are defined below.

The classification of prehypertension was created to increase the awareness of the possibility of developing hypertension so that measures, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle, can be taken to prevent high blood pressure.


Understanding Blood Pressure Reading


Upper number (systolic) is less than 120 mm Hg ......... Normal

Upper number (systolic) is 120 - 139 mm Hg ......... Pre hypertension

Upper number (systolic) is 140 - 159 mm Hg ......... Hypertension (stage 1)

Upper number (systolic) is 160 mm Hg or greater ......... Hypertension (stage 2)


Lower number (diastolic) is less than 80 mm Hg ......... Normal

Lower number (diastolic) is 80 - 89 mm Hg ......... Pre hypertension

Lower number (diastolic) is 90 - 99 mm Hg ......... Hypertension (stage 1)

Lower number (diastolic) is 100 mm Hg or greater ......... Hypertension (stage 2)


If you have diabetes and/or kidney disease, the target range for the upper number (systolic) is less than 130 mm Hg and the lower number (diastolic) is less than 80 mm Hg.


2.      Blood Glucose Check: Blood glucose is the concentration of sugar in the blood. This test is done to check for diabetes. A drop of blood placed on a glucose monitor is used to determine your glucose value. Glucose is the sugar in your blood.


Understanding Blood Glucose Reading

No Known Diabetes

Known Diabetes

Fasting (Before eating)

Less than 40                    Low
40-99 mg/dl                    Normal
100-125 mg/dl                Impaired Fasting Glucose
More than 125 mg/dl    Indicates diabetes

Non-Fasting (After eating)

Less than 40                    Low
40-139 mg/dl                  Normal
140-199 mg/dl                High
200 mg/dl and higher    Indicates diabetes

Fasting (Before eating)

Less than 70 mg/dl        Below target range
70 - 130 mg/dl                Within target range
More than 130 mg/dl    Above target range

Non-Fasting (After eating)

Less than 40                      Low
Less than 180 mg/dl        Within target range
180 mg/dl and higher     Above target range


3.      Albumin to creatinine ratio: The albumin to creatinine measurement estimates the amount of protein (albumin) found in your urine in a day and avoids the need to collect a 24-hour urine specimen. This test also helps measure for protein in the urine more accurately, since it corrects for differences in urine concentration.


Less than 30 mg/gm       Normal

30 mg/gm or more         Abnormal


4.      Hemoglobin: A hemoglobin test is done to determine anemia, or low red blood cell count. There are many reasons why the hemoglobin level can be low. Individuals with advanced kidney disease and poor kidney function can develop anemia.


Female:   11.7-15.5 gm/dl             Normal
                 Less than 11.7 gm/dl     Low

Male:   13.2-17.1 gm/dl              Normal
              Less than 13.2 gm/dl     Low


Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)

Hemoglobin A1c evaluates blood glucose levels over a 6-8 week period.

Hemoglobin A1c:
Less than or equal to 7% - Normal
Greater than 7% - High



5.      Cholesterol & Triglycerides

Lipid Panel

This test is used to evaluate your risk of heart disease and includes the measurement of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Total Cholesterol

Less than 200 mg/dl – Normal
200 mg/dl and higher – Elevated

HDL Cholesterol:
Less than 40 mg/dl – Undesirable
40 mg/dl and higher – Desirable

LDL Cholesterol:
Less than 100 mg/dl – Optimal
100-129 mg/dl – Near Optimal/Above Optimal
130 mg/dl and higher – Elevated


Less than 150 mg/dl – Normal
150 mg/dl and higher – Elevated


6.      Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR): This test is used to get a better estimate of your kidney function. Your serum creatinine, age, race and gender are needed so we can provide this measurement to you.


≥60 ml / min / 1.73 m²         Normal

<60 ml / min / 1.73 m²         Abnormal


7.      Calcium, Phosphorus, PTH

Calcium, Phosphorus and PTH tests are being conducted to assess bone health, which may be related to kidney disease and/or other problems. The following blood tests will be done in an eGFR below 60 only.

Calcium - tests for levels of calcium in the blood

Phosphorus - tests for levels of phosphorus in the blood

PTH - test for levels of parathyroid hormone in the blood



Source: National Kidney Foundation

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