Low EGFR in Blood Work : My employer gives... - Early CKD Support

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Low EGFR in Blood Work

Layneis60 profile image

My employer gives yearly blood tests and results. I'm a healthy 60 year old male and take no prescription medications. My recent blood test showed a lower EGFR level of 58. I've been noticing some bubbles in my urine for about 8-12 months now. I have no other symptoms. About 8 months ago, I started rigorously lifting weights every other day and also started riding bikes, going on regular rides of 15-30 miles. I started taking Creatine for the weight lifting and also take a potassium supplement. I am going to stop taking both of the supplements and was wondering if these could be causing my EGFR levels to be low. I am thinking about seeing a doctor, but wondering if trying these things first might help. Has anyone had similar experiences using the supplements.

37 Replies

58 is stage 2nof ckd. I would reduce any additional protein, phosphate and potassium foods as these are poison for your kidneys and create too much work for your kidneys to process. Salt intake should be between 3 to 6 grams per day or less. Protein intake should be set st 0.4 grams for every kilogram you weigh. Eg: I weigh 50 kg so calculate 0.4 X 50 whixh is approximately 20 grams of protein per day. In addition, I so not eat animal protein as there is one place protein comes from and that's feom plants. The animals eat the plant then that protein is processed through the animals body which results in RECYCLED protein and is approximately 90% bacterial. Good protein can be found in nuts etc. Your kidney/s need to do as little work as possible and go on a vacation hence a bespoke plant based diet with approximately 30,000 daily number of ORACS put in your body which can include; black coffee and lots of the right foods and fruits but more antioxidants. These food types will give your kidney/kidneys lots of nutrients and less work on your kidney/s. I say kidney/s as one on every person onky has one kidney but if there is no damage and fully functional then people can go throughout life and never ever know about it. Once you adapt your diet and cut out the poisons 3 PPPs then your egfr should go up. There are hundreds of books out there on kidney and slowing down progression and dialysis. Lee Hull USA has written a few books with some excellent results.

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to Melleo69

Such good advice. You really seem to know what you are taking about. It just scared me and I think I know what I've been doing wrong. Just need to adjust a bit. I hope EGHR goes back up.

Hello Layne,

Yes. Stop the creatine immediately. They are very hard on the kidneys. I went from a 1.7 creatinine level to 1.19. As far as the potassium supplement, what is your blood work telling you? Is it really needed?

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to Batony646

So you were taking it and you stopped and things improved. I was looking for that extra push with weight lifting and should never have tried it. I did stop taking it about a month ago, but was taking it all the way up to that blood test. Thanks for taking your time to reply.

Melleo69 profile image
Melleo69 in reply to Layneis60

Try lighter exercise such as cycling, walking or swimming. Dont overdo it with the exercise as you will become extremely tired

Kofori370 profile image
Kofori370 in reply to Melleo69

It also can affect your blood protein work

Hi Layneis60! I use to take creatine too. High protein diet and heavy lifting. I had a reading of 53 in my early 30’s. I was referred to a specialist who thought maybe it was my muscle mass. I didn’t have bubbles in my urine though. I think you should have your urine checked to see if your kidneys are leaking. I stopped creatine, drank lots of water and managed to get my egfr to 61. The highest I can get it is 70.

Since stopping creatine I’ve realised it makes little difference to mass and workouts. I don’t cycle and maybe you feel different about that but I do competitively weight. I’ve actually gained more since stopping it.

There are other readings they look at in your bloods -they can look at this for you.

Id probably stop the creatine and see the GP

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to Dee2019

Ok. Thank you. Just a bit worried about this as you could imagine. I’d like to think there is a explanation other than kidney disease.

Melleo69 profile image
Melleo69 in reply to Dee2019

The bubbles and froth in urine is proteinuria/protein in the water as the filters at top of kidney cannot filter out all protein if damaged xx

Stop your panic :). From what you describe it is HIGHLY likely you are causing your low result. As you probably know the determination of GFR is really a simple formula. The level of Creatinine in your system is considered along with your age, sex, race. Generally speaking anything 60 or above (GFR) is considered "normal". Your kidney's filter out of your body excess Creatinine. Now what are common causes excess Creatinine even with 100% healthy kidneys.? Dehydration, high protein consumption, intense exercise, certain medications. You seem to have done most of these things. Took blood test without consideration if you were hydrated or not. Have been exercising a lot. And worst of all took Creatinine as a supplement. NO WONDER your egfr was lower. Someone responded that egfr 58 is stage 2. This is incorrect. It TECHNICALLY is stage 3a.

But does this mean your have CKD? Not necessarily. You need to consider other factors. You should have a urine test to see if it comes back normal, if protein is found in the urine, etc.

If I were you I would do the following: Stop the supplements. Have another blood test, but this time ensure you are hydrated. Do NOT strenuously exercise for 2 or 3 days before the test (blood and urine). I bet all comes back normal

Oh, about bubbles in urine. This can be a signal of CKD but certainly NOT always. Guys have bubbles for a million different reasons. I have had it for years (my father always had it and passed in his sleep at 92 years, without any kidney problems) but my urine always tests normal. You can find literally thousands of articles on the net about guys who had foam in urine, had all the proper tests done, everything turned out normal. It is NOT uncommon. But the most simple urine test can show if this is normal for you (as it can be) or a sign of protein in the urine due to CKD.

In summary. Stop your supplements and excessive exercise. Get retested for blood and get a urine test, and put your mind at ease.

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to RickHow

Wow. You seem to know some things. Much of what you said, I am finding on the Internet. You did a great job summarizing some key points. I am going to stop taking any supplements, then lower the protein back to normal. Hopefully a blood test will confirm better results. Thanks so much.

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to RickHow

I do have one question for you. I have these test strips I bought for testing my Urine. It doesn't show any protein in it, but my albumin levels may be up. I'm not sure what to think about that since that's a type of protein. I am going to allow my system to settle down some, then go and ask for another blood workup.

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Layneis60

Hi. I also have urine test strips that I use once a month (doctor requested I do so ever since I had a kidney removed in 2017). My strips test for various factors, including protein. However mine do NOT have on them a test for albumin. I have seen test strips that test for Microalbumin. Not sure what yours tests (albumin, microalbumin). It is normal to have some microalbumin in your urine. You say yours (micro or albumin) MAY be elevated. I am assuming that your having trouble detecting the reading because the color on the strip for this item is not a perfect match to what is labelled "normal", or the next step up. I have this trouble a lot on some of my categories, such as Leukocytes. I can't tell if it is normal, and it appears a better match to the next step, but not perfectly. I once did such a test 5 times in one day. It worried me. I thought for sure it was high and I went to the doctor. He did a test and all was normal. He told me it is CRITICAL to be sure your test strips are NOT close to, or beyond their expiration date.For albumin the normal range is "less than 30 mg/g". Certainly elevated levels can indicate some kind of kidney damage (not necessarily ckd, but something amiss). But if very near to normal but slightly elevated it can also be due to dehydration, recent diarrhea, certain medications, steroids, if a person is taking insulin.

Test strips are a good test to keep on top of things and identify conditions early, but they can be wrong for a variety of reason (out of date or not kept in air tight containers, errors on strips, errors in the timing of reading such as reading the category too quickly and not waiting the 30 seconds, or 90, etc., required by the manufacturer, or waiting beyond the required time and the color is not accurate). SO, when you go for your blood test, get a urine test. As I mentioned I have run to the doctor more than once because my test strip gave me what I thought was a problem, but that the doctor's test indicated nothing wrong.

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to RickHow

The test says microalbumin. The strips are brand new. Just ordered them months back and I keep them in the airtight bottle. It I am reading it correctly, the microalbumin is only slightly elevated. I also joined a group on facebook on Kidney problems. I get all kinds of things on that one. I even got suggested to stop working out at all as this was bad on my kidneys. Really?

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Layneis60

Well in my opinion it is not actually, technically, bad for the kidneys. what happens is the more you exercise the more creatinine your body makes. The kidney has to filter out excess creatinine. When it does not, that is generally CKD. It is EXCESS exercise that is bad. In general exercise is a good thing. Here is from the national kidney organization :Research shows that appropriate exercise is beneficial for kidney patients, but many kidney patients do not have the opportunity or believe they cannot exercise. But most can exercise, and exercise can have benefits for adults of all ages. It will help you feel better, stronger and more in control of your health.

One thing you have to pay attention to on facebook, here, internet, etc is that are so many stages to kidney disease. What is appropriate to do at one stage may be totally bad idea at another. AND you have NOT been classified as having kidney disease. Patience until the next blood, urine test.

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Layneis60

Here is from the Mayo Clinic about some elevation in microalbumin in urine: (vigorous exercise is a 'no no':Several factors can cause higher than expected urinary microalbumin results, such as:

Blood in your urine (hematuria)

Certain medications

Fever

Recent vigorous exercise

Urinary tract infection

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to RickHow

ok, I went to the doctor and they did a urine test. It all came back normal. I didn't redo the blood work yet, but the urine part didn't show any problems. Maybe the blood work was off for different reasons. Thanks or all of your input. It all seems to make sense to me.

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Layneis60

GREAT! Now you can stop looking at "foam" in the urine as a problem. And even more important no protein in the urine! Everyone always jumps to the conclusion that the instant they see bubbles there must be CKD or protein leakage. NOT TRUE, as you yourself have just found out. Having just one kidney, stage 3 ckd, metastatic renal cancer I am under the "microscope" constantly by a range of doctors (oncologist, urologist, cardiologist, primary care, kidney doctor). If I mention the urine they all say (i pay particular attention to the urologist on this subject) my test shows no protein and it is NOT uncommon to have such urine with "bubbles", especially in males. It is absolutely a POTENTIAL sign of a kidney problem and needs testing, but if no protein is found, stop worrying. One doctor told me he often gets patients who mention this to him. That what they do not realize is they likely have had such urine but simply never paid attention to it, until other medical problems put in their mind to look closely. Also note, there is a difference between bubbles and what is described as "froth" (more like the head on a beer). Froth kind of lays on top of the urine and SLOWLY goes away if left to set. Whereas bubbly urine, is not so thick, appears more like bubbles, and goes away within a minute or two if left to sit.Anyway, next is your blood work and I bet all will be fine.

Good luck. I hope all of these things help you out. I'm sure it's no fun.

Thank you x

And what is the definition of "vigorous exercise" as it pertains to the ckd community? There's absolutely zero consensus and hardly any medical research on the subject.

I read all the comments. RickHow is giving you some good advice and not trying to act like an armchair expert or worse act like a doctor diagnosing. There’s another person, Melloe, that’s giving terrible advice, making claims that are just not correct and making far too many assumptions. Terrible advice based on bs read on the internet. Please don’t let this person frighten you. RickHow said it: just follow some basic guidelines and take the blood test again. Ensure you are hydrated, don’t do a hard driving workout for a couple days before the test, don’t supplement with the creatine (it’s useless anyway for your purposes), dial back the protein if you’ve been super compensating (you don’t have to become a vegan and the nonsense that eating vegetables is eating protein because cows eat vegetables and become protein shows a great misunderstanding of biology). I had almost the same thing happen to me that you experienced. Once I prepped properly before the blood test my rate reading went up by 15 points. I do have kidney problems, but not severe, I have no symptoms, and I know what to do to deal with it to slow it down.

One last piece of advice, you probably have had your egfr tested many times, but no doctor saw an issue with the numbers, so you never heard anything about it. Try to get all your blood tests and go back and look at those numbers. Like with my own tests, you will probably see the number goes down and goes up. I found that there has been a gradual decline in my kidney function over 30 years of tests with a couple odd tests where the function showed very low. I’ll bet those times that the tests were low because I had been dehydrated (I live and work in the desert) and/or had worked out very hard that day (I’ve trained as an amateur bodybuilder my whole life and I also like doing hard hikes in the desert canyons where I live, and I run) and I’ve taken creatine supplements and I’ve usually eaten a lot of protein to help gain muscle. I also work in construction, laying blocks all day, so that could contribute to those tests with unusually low numbers. I figure my routine those particular days probably caused those bad readings and my doctor agrees. Bottom line is there a lot of factors that can cause the reading to not be a true reflection of your kidney condition.

I say it’s a wake up call but not a death sentence. Talk to your doctor. Listen to your doctor. Take what anyone here tells you with a grain of salt. Use common sense. Don’t worry.

Great advice 👍👍

Melleo69 profile image
Melleo69 in reply to Nevereven

WOW!! Thank you for taking the time out to respond to my messages and I am over whelmed by your paasive aggressive assumption amd opinions on myself and someone you have never met. I have lived with ckd for 52 years, been on dialysis in my teens and had a kidney transplant 32 years ago. Having spent a lot of time on renal wards, requested to attend global conferences at universities, colleges and hospitasl and support many practising doctors in lectures and seminars and requested to participate in studies to help future kidney and transplant patients. In addition, I have a BMedSci in Renal Medical Nursing plus much more and a book being released in next few years from my own personal experience combined with the advice and hands on experience with various professionals. Everyone's body copes and responds differently things (attachment science) and our bodies are adaptable. In my experience professionals are not always correct. If I had listened to the professionals who informed I would never ever have children at 17 years old and were adamant they wanted to sterilise me. I always knew I would and now have 2 beautiful children and 2 grandchildren. I am one of the longest reigning transplant patients ever and still going despite, although I do not advocate this, take any medication as you have 90% of getting cancer within 10 years due to side effects of the medication hence people were not dying from the organ but pharmaceutical medication. Other things to take into consideration is 'iga nephropathy' as a contributory factor. Some people over think things and I do believe in mind over matter as some people sit and 'think' themselves poley. A healthy lifestyle, good balanced diet preferably vegetarian or vegan. Everyone has their own story and different things work for different people so always best to keep an open mind. Experiment a little and do what suits you best as it's your body as only you know what works best for you and your limitations x CKD is not a one size fits all but there are adaptations we can make which are bespoke to ourselves xxx

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Melleo69

It probably is not advisable to step into the discussion between you and Nevereven, but it is an open forum so I will. I am no expert on anything and do no state a long list of credentials and experience that you submitted. But I DO want to give you a different perspective. You yourself type that not all professionals are correct. You seem to be saying you are such a professional because of your transplant experience, profession, attendance at conferences, etc., etc., etc. All of which you list. But I find a lot of what you say in contradiction with data given by the American kidney organization, the British, and so many reliable professional organizations and reputable health organizations. What I found somewhat objectionable in some of your statements was such things as "egfr is reversible". That is a bold statement. It depends greatly on what is the cause of the "lower than normal" egfr. For example, I have one kidney, the other is failing due to kidney cancer. While I can eat, exercise, medicate properly and vary my egfr from test to test, if is NOT reversible (I get tested every 3 weeks). You list such things as "nuts are good". Actually for a CKD patient, they must be aware that nuts are high in Phosphorus. And you yourself say Phosphorus is bad. You state "The bubbles and froth in urine is proteinuria". That is 100% NOT true. It can be a sign of proteinuria and a person should get a check. But as I stated I have had bubbles for years, my father did also (died in his sleep in his 90's with no kidney problems). But I have had my urine checked MONTHLY (due to cancer) for over four years and not a single sign of any protein in my urine. In fact all categories check normal. My urologist and kidney doctor both told me MANY people have bubbles in urine without ANY medical problems. In fact in this post also, the person who started this discussion subsequently had their urine tested an NO PROTEIN was found. You wrote that egfr of 58 is Stage 2. Where did you get such information??? 58 is stage 3a. You indicated that salt intake should be 3 to 6 grams per day?? The U.S. government recommendation is 2.3 grams per day, although the majority consume 3.4 per day. Your phosphorus calculation is stated as .4gr per kilo of weight. This would be advisable for a person in a significantly low egfr but the actual formula it generally considered to be .8 gr per kilo. ALL of these "facts", figures, calculations, even the questionable accuracy of the egfr categorization itself (which is becoming more and more questionable as it labels far too many as having CKD when they have no disease at all), are all variable per person. So I question a lot of your figures and advice. NOT because I am such a highly educated and experienced professional like yourself (degrees, conferences, speaker, test participant) but because your information conflicts with what I am told by my own doctors (oncologist, urologist, cardiologist, primary care, kidney), what is advised by the NHI, National Kidney Organizations in both the U.S. and UK, completely wrong statements (i.e., bubbles is proteinuria, nuts, 58 is stage 2, etc., etc.) . The best advice to any and all on this forum is FOLLOW YOUR OWN DOCTORS ADVICE as no one knows your medical condition (medications, history, other medical issues, test results, progress or decline over time) better than your doctor. And always remember that what was consider normal practice and done 32 years ago, in fact even 5 years ago, can be completely different today. In my own personal case, renal cancer treatment was no chemotherapy, just oral pills that helped for a while, but was no cure. The month prior to my own diagnosis, exactly one month, a new immunotherapy drug was approved for the treatment of renal metastatic cancer. It has served me well. So what was normal changes daily.

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to RickHow

I wanted to add a bit more information to this post. I am no expert on kidney problems and I have not been to a primary care doctor in 5 years until now, but I do get my blood work for free every year by my employer. As stated, EGFR levels were at 58 and creatinine levels were also high. After my Urine test at minute clinic and discussing those results with primary care doctor also considering my blood work that was indicating I was in stage 3 kidney failure, he told me your 60 years old and your kidneys do not function as well. He also confirmed that all of the things I was doing most likely contributed to the blood work being off: Dehydration, Intense workouts, and taking supplemental creatine. You were spot on with most everything you said and I value your response greatly. I am a IT Software Developer, pretty decent tennis player, try to ride bikes twice a week for 20-30 miles, and go to the health club 5 days a week. I was not ready for something like this and as it turns out, the doctor said urine test shows no protein and see you in a year. He said hydrate better prior to my next blood test, stop taking supplements, and continue to work hard with my work outs. He said no need to alter my diet. I do think people should be careful about giving specific advice to anyone, but I factor in everything I hear. I am a IT Project Manager and software developer, 60 years old, and need to get to at least 67 prior to retirement, that assuming our government doesn't implode our economic system and corrupt society before I can get there. lol.

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Layneis60

Great news! I'm no expert but only post what I experienced and have been told by my own doctors and sometimes what I found on the internet (to which I always say go to your doctor, no one knows you better than him/her, has access to your test results, medications, other conditions. ). Only reason I was "spot on" as you say in most of my thoughts was because the same thing happened to me. And that is the purpose of this forum, to share our experiences. NOT to claim we are professionals, nor have all the answers. And I think another purpose of posting is to support and encourage those that post or ask a question, that all is not lost, to go to the doctor as what we sit and worry and speculate about ourselves may turn out to be nothing. I too retired at 67. You will love that day. It has been great talking and sharing with you. Continued good luck.

Nevereven profile image
Nevereven in reply to Melleo69

All thee as far great. But you’re not a his doctor and you haven’t seen him in your office. You’re speculating. Call that passive aggressive or whatever you want. Anyone reading the posts can judge for themselves.

Melleo69 profile image
Melleo69 in reply to Nevereven

Not all professionals are correct.. let's use government decision making as an example...

Nevereven profile image
Nevereven in reply to Melleo69

Thanks for clarifying that “not all professionals are correct.” Another stunning revelation for the masses.

Melleo69 profile image
Melleo69 in reply to Nevereven

Egfr is also reversible.. I have seen some Hodgkknsons disease patients and their egfr can go from over 100 to about 30 within hours and are regular patients every 2 weeks to the hospital

Nevereven profile image
Nevereven in reply to Melleo69

If you’re talking to me, Implying that I claimed it’s not reversible, reread my first post. Nowhere will you find any such claim. Original Questioner - are beginning to see the real value in going onto a site like this for medical advice? It’s a swamp of misinformation. Stick with your doctors.

Hi Layneis60 Please don't stress too much as I went through a period of 3 years with a efgr of 60 and bubbles in pee and stressed about it then 18 months ago I made some small changes against normal protocol and my efgr is now around 85.

I still have bubbly pee but I ve realised that could just be to do with diet or just the way my body is.

I m 53 and have always tried to eat well but realised that I had reduced my salt intake for most of my adult life due to thinking it was bad for me and suffered with alot of muscle twitches.

So I tried an experiment and slightly reduced my protein intake and increased my salt to an acceptable level. The result was my muscle twitching stopped and for thr last 3 years my efgr has been between 85 and 90. I m not saying this is the answer for everyone and I haven't posted this for anyone else but for you Laynei60 and anyone else that may be interested in my journey. I do not want a debate with anyone about this I just wanted to say about my experience. I hope it is of some interest to someone.

Layneis60 profile image
Layneis60 in reply to shawn68

Hi and thanks for responding. Like I think others have posted, this is about life experiences. Sounds like you are relating just that and glad to hear your EGHR is higher. I didn't even know what that was until weeks back. I learned a lot about it in a short period of time. I was actually eating more protein because I thought it was good for me, but I backed off a bit and hopefully give my kidneys some rest. I never plan to supplement my protein by adding powder again. Our organs take a beating over a lifetime, so I expect one day, I will experience some sort of problem. Thanks for your reply and it helps greatly to hear this type of story. I know one person replied "stop trying to kill yourself." Such a pity that people are so mean sometimes. God bless you in every way possible.

shawn68 profile image
shawn68 in reply to Layneis60

👍

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to shawn68

That is great. Along the lines of what you did is very much in sync with what my doctors told me, still tell me. That the body needs salt, protein, etc., etc., etc. They advise me to not overdo it and not to cut my intake too much. They advise to consume the daily recommended amounts of salt, protein, etc. That is for me of course. A person for example with high blood pressure may be told to reduce salt intake. It all again proves we should share our experiences here, but the person to listen to is your doctor. Your blood tests and urine tests will tell you what you are too high in and need to reduce intake of, or what things you are too low in and need to consume more of. And you are yet another example, like me, like my father, like Layneis, etc, that bubbles in urine can be totally normal.

Hi, both of those supplements can have an affect. I would stop both and try to hydrate more with water. I have talked with my doctor about both supplements.

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