Converse with Your Physician Like a Pro
Facing Alport syndrome means you’re welcomed into a world of Kidney and Alport vocabulary and regular visits with a nephrologist. Your primary care medical professional and all others on your care team should also be made aware of your diagnosis.
To help facilitate more informed conversations with your doctors, and better understanding of your lab results from blood and urine tests.
GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate)
GFR is an index of overall kidney function that is calculated using your creatinine level, age, gender, and other factors. GFR is presented as a percentage from 0-100%, with 100 representing full, 100% renal function. A GFR of 15 represents stage 5, the final stage of kidney failure when dialysis or transplantation are needed to support your kidney function.
Chemical waste product from the metabolism of creatinine. A Creatinine blood test is used to indicate renal function, often expressed to a patient as a GFR percentage. An average creatine level for males with normal renal function is 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dL. Females with normal average function range from 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL. Creatine levels can fluctuate due to medications, hydration, high blood pressure and other factors.
Very small amounts of protein in the urine. Protein leakage from the kidneys must be monitored closely by your physician. As the amount of albumin in your urine increases, the term albuminuria or proteinuria is used to describe the condition.
Blood in the urine only visible under a microscope. For many patients, microhematuria is the first physical symptom of Alport syndrome.
Contained within red blood cells, hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia, a condition when the body doesn’t have a good number of healthy red blood cells, can result from a low hemoglobin count. Anemia commonly occurs in people with chronic kidney disease, even in early stages, and is characterized by an ongoing feeling of fatigue.
Additional Terminology Resources
Dr. Bruce Morgenstern, Professor of Pediatrics at Roseman University College of Medicine, who serves on ASF’s Medical Advisory Committee, provides an overview of exactly what our kidneys do and how to interpret your lab results in this informative Ask the Experts Webinar.
For additional information on common renal terms, particularly those found in your lab reports, please refer to National Kidney Foundation’s comprehensive “Understand Your Lab Values” document.
For terminology related to the kidney diet, such as phosphorous and potassium, please view our Renal Diet Guide. Our guide includes food alternatives and steps you can take to ensure a healthy, kidney-healthy diet.