One of my clients shared his recent labs with me.  I have helped him to preserve and improve his kidney function, but we still have more work to do, so his numbers are technically still abnormal.

He has high Creatinine and a low GFR.  The labs specify his Creatinine is high with an ‘H’ and specify his GFR is low with an ‘L.’

We are also working on his cholesterol levels, which have improved, but are still high.  These are also marked with an ‘H.’

However, at the top of this month’s set of labs, the doctor’s note says ‘Your kidney function is stable.’

A GFR of 40 is considered Stage 3b Kidney disease.  According to this page of the National Kidney Foundation, a GFR of 60 or higher is in the normal range, a GFR below 60 may mean kidney disease, and GFR declines with age, even in people without kidney disease.  I take a different approach with assessing GFR, however, I am going to use this statement to make a point.

On this same page, the National Kidney Foundation displays the average estimated eGFR based on age as follows:

Age (years)Average eGFR

My client is almost 70……  😐
He also noted that his kidney function declined after having an enlarged prostate that caused a backflow of urine that damaged the kidneys.  He also has a history of high blood pressure, which is a top cause for kidney damage.

Your provider may diagnose chronic kidney disease if your GFR stays below 60 for more than 3 months.

I can see that the doctor stated the kidney function is stable because the numbers have maintained within a certain range overtime.  However, this is often not informative enough.

There are many doctors who do not inform their patients that their kidney function is low until it reaches Stage 4 Kidney disease.  So if their patients are not even aware that their kidney function is low, only saying that it is ‘stable’ is misleading.

The statement about cholesterol is as follows: ‘Cholesterol is slightly better but still very high.’

Do you see how more detailed this statement is?  It is stating the full reality.  The kidney statement – which is right above it on the report – does not.