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Kidney Diseases

Living Donor and Lifestyle Chnages

01/12/2009

Question:

I donated a kidney to my son a little over one year ago. During recent blood work, my BUN was 24 (creatinine 0.9 and glucose 70). This is high according to standard of 9-20. Prior to surgery my BUN levels were 18 and 12. I drink at least 80 ounces of water daily (always have) and have been told by different nutritionist that my protein intake is low. I am a 59 year old, very active (athletic) woman. Should I be concerned about the high levels, dehyration, and eating too much protein? Are there any changes I should make to my lifestyle? Thank you

Answer:

The BUN is a much less accurate reflection of your kidney function than is the serum creatinine concentration. Indeed, your creatinine is quite normal and excellent for someone who donated a kidney a year ago. Congratulations!

The creatinine level generally fluctuates as a function of the kidney's glomerular filtration (GFR). While the BUN is also influenced by the GFR, it is also affected by many other factors including diet (usually high protein), volume status (increased by dehydration), and your body's state of catabolism (which may be realtively high in an athletic individual. Rarely, an elevated BUN can be a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding. More importantly, A BUN of 24 should result in no adverse symptoms and, as you indicate, is only slightly above the range of normal. It represents no serious health concern, and based on your descripition, does not form the basis for needing to change your life style or current habits.

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Response by:

Donald E Hricik, MD Donald E Hricik, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University