Please note: eGFR is an estimate of how well your kidneys are working. The way eGFR is calculated will be changing. Currently the test considers your age, sex and whether you are African American, among other things. A task force led by the National Kidney Foundation and the American Society of Nephrology is working on recommendations that may remove African American race as a factor in the eGFR calculation. The task force has been seeking the input of stakeholders. AKF advised the task force that eGFR equations should be an unbiased estimate of kidney function. This would make sure that every person will receive appropriate and equitable care. When the NKF-ASN task force makes its recommendations, AKF will promptly review them and then update our educational materials.
What is eGFR?
eGFR is short for estimated glomerular filtration rate. Your eGFR is a number based on your blood test for creatinine, a waste product in your blood. It tells how well your kidneys are working.
The eGFR is a good test, but it’s not right for everyone. For example, this test may not be accurate if you are younger than 18, pregnant, very overweight or very muscular. Talk to your doctor to find out if this test is right for you.
How do I know my eGFR?
You will have a blood test to see how much creatinine is in your blood. Creatinine is a waste that comes from your muscles. Healthy kidneys take creatinine out of your blood.
Your doctor will figure out your eGFR using the result from your creatinine test, your age, your gender and your race.
What does my eGFR mean?
A normal eGFR is 60 or more. If your eGFR is less than 60 for three months or more, your kidneys may not be working well. If you eGFR is below 15, you may need to start dialysis or have a kidney transplant. Use this scale to see what your eGFR may mean.
|Stage 1||Stage 2||Stage 3||Stage 4||Stage 5|
eGFR in normal range (greater than 90) with other signs of kidney damage, like protein in urine or physical damage to the kidneys
eGFR in normal range (60-89) with other signs of kidney damage, like protein in urine or physical damage to the kidneys
eGFR 30-59, moderate kidney damage
eGFR 15-29, severe kidney damage
eGFR less than 15, the kidneys are close to failure or have already failed
No matter what your eGFR is, ask your doctor when you should be tested again and what other tests you should have. Your doctor may want to look for other signs of kidney problems by doing more testing. These tests might include:
- Urine (for protein or blood)
- Blood (for other wastes)
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
What should I do next?
If your eGFR was less than 60, talk to your doctor soon!
If this was your first eGFR test, you may need to be tested again in a few months. Your doctor will want to see if your eGFR is less than 60 for three months or more. Ask your doctor when you should be tested again.
Whether your eGFR is above or below 60, you can take steps to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible:
- Keep a healthy blood pressure (less than 120/80 for most people)
- Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes
- Follow a low-salt, low-fat diet
- Exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week
- Keep a healthy weight
- Do not smoke or use tobacco
- Talk to your doctor about medicines that might help protect your kidneys.
Find kidney-friendly recipes on Kidney Kitchen
In Kidney Kitchen, you can take a deep dive into what each nutrient means for people with kidney disease, and how much of these nutrients common foods contain. Learn what healthy eating means for people in every stage of kidney disease, including those on dialysis or living with a kidney transplant. Find recipes on Kidney Kitchen.