(Blood Urea Nitrogen) - A waste product, derived from protein breakdown, produced in the liver and excreted by way of thekidneys. High values may mean that the kidneys are not working as well as they should. BUN is also elevated by Blood loss,dehydration, high protein diets and/or strenuous exercise which may temporarily and artificially raise levels. A low BUN level may be theresult of liver disease, a low protein diet, pregnancy, or drinking an extreme amount of water. Normal BUN levels should be betweeneight and 23 milligrams per deciliter of Blood (mg/dL); normal creatinine levels should be between 0.7 and 1.3 mg/dL.
- A waste product largely from muscle metabolism (breakdown). Concentration of creatinine in the Blood depends upon theamount of muscle that you have and the ability of your kidneys to excrete creatinine. High values, especially with high BUN levels, mayindicate problems with the kidneys. Because of its insensitivity in detecting early renal failure, the creatinine clearance is significantlyreduced before any rise in serum creatinine occurs. The renal impairment may be due to intrinsic renal lesions, decreased perfusion of the kidney, or obstruction of the lower urinary tract. Low values are generally not considered significant.
- By comparing the BUN level in the Blood to the creatinine level, your physician can determine if a high BUNlevel is caused by kidney disease, dehydration, or by gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Controlled in the Blood by the parathyroid glands and the kidneys, calcium is one of the most important elements in thebody. Virtually all of the calcium in your body is found in bone (99%). That other 1% is very important for proper Blood clotting, nerve,and cell and enzyme activity. The parathyroid gland is the main regulator of calcium in the body. An elevated calcium can be due tomedication, inherited disorders of calcium handling in the kidneys, bone disease, or excess parathyroid gland activity or vitamin D. Lowcalcium can be due to malnutrition, drugs and certain metabolic disorders and should be re-evaluated.
- An electrolyte regulated by the kidneys and adrenal glands. This element plays an important role in the water/salt balance inyour body. There are numerous causes of high and low sodium levels, but the most common causes of low sodium are diuretic usage,and excessive water intake in patients with heart or liver disease. A high level can be caused by an excessive intake of salt or even aninsufficient intake of water. Sodium levels should be between 136 and 144 millimoles per liter of Blood (mmol/L).
- Controlled very carefully by the kidneys, potassium is an electrolyte found primarily inside cells. Its role is to maintainwater balance inside the cells and to help in the transmission of nerve impulses. It is very important for the proper functioning of thenerves and muscles, particularly the heart. Any value outside the expected range, high or low, requires immediate medical evaluation.This is especially important if you are taking a diuretic (water pill) or heart pill (Digitalis, Lanoxin, etc.) A low potassium level can causemuscle weakness and heart problems. A high potassium level can be found in kidney disease or in over ingestion of potassiumsupplements. Potassium levels should be between 3.6 and 5.1 mmol/L.
- Important to the function of nerves, muscles, and cells. Chloride is an electrolyte regulated by the kidneys and adrenalglands. It is usually associated with a high or low level of sodium or potassium. Increase in serum chloride is seen in dehydration, renaltubular acidosis, acute renal failure, diabetes insipidus, prolonged diarrhea, and some other rare conditions or medications. Somedrugs cause decreased chloride levels. Levels should be between 99 and 108 mmol/L.
- Reflects the acid status of your Blood. Abnormally high or low levels may indicate severe problems if you have had prolongedvomiting, are on lots of fluid pills or if you have out of control diabetes. Normal values for CO2 in Blood range from 20 to 29milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).