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Renal Health on a Blood Test

By Dicken Weatherby, ND

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Most practitioners know that you can use a blood test to screen for renal or kidney disease. What is less well known is that you can also screen for kidney dysfunction long before the kidneys actually show signs of significant damage or tissue change.

Renal insufficiency or decreased renal function occurs long before one sees overt renal disease. The kidneys help to filter waste and toxins, but this is not their only function. They regulate fluid and mineral balance, help regulate blood pressure, secrete hormones (erythropoietin, rennin, angiotensin, prostaglandins), and regulate acid-base balance amongst other functions. There are many factors that contribute to renal insufficiency:

  1. Heavy metal toxicity has a detrimental effect on kidney function. Cadmium and mercury, which slowly destroys the glomeruli, are especially deleterious.
  2. Factors that cause an increased stress on the kidneys include: high protein intake, processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol etc.
  3. Many over the counter and prescription drugs cause damage to the kidney.
  4. Dehydration can cause a significant stress on the kidneys.
  5. Impaired liver function, especially its detoxification function can lead to increased kidney stress. The kidney will often take on many of the detoxification tasks of the liver when the liver becomes compromised.
  6. It is very common to have sub-acute, long-term low-grade and chronic idiopathic infections that will decrease kidney function over time.

The body will use the skin as a secondary route of detoxification and as such skin problems that have no known cause are often associated with renal dysfunction. Skin problems can also be an indication that the kidney is no longer processing metabolic waste correctly.

The kidney plays an important role in blood pressure control via the rennin-angiotensin system. Always rule out renal dysfunction with hypertension of unknown etiology. This is a very common reason for a mild to moderate elevated blood pressure, yet many patients are immediately put on medications to “normalize” blood pressure. These medications can further worsen an over-looked underlying renal insufficiency.

© 2004 Dicken Weatherby, ND

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Dicken Weatherby is a graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. He is the co-author of the best-selling book "Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis- Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective". To learn more about Dr. Weatherby's functional diagnosis books and sign up for FREE functional diagnosis tips, tools, and techniques, visit his web site at http://www.BloodChemistryAnalysis.com

NOTE: You're welcome to "reprint" this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint or the url to DrWeatherby@BloodChemistryAnalysis.com

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