Skip to content
All posts

Know Your Numbers: Key Tests for Kidney Health

Assessing Your Risk for Kidney Disease with NaviDKD®

For individuals with diabetes, whether newly diagnosed or managing the condition for years, an essential step is undergoing an early assessment of kidney disease risk with NaviDKD. It utilizes advanced predictive biomarkers, providing a foundation for personalized, proactive interventions to help you avoid kidney complications.


  • What is it? NaviDKD is a predictive screening for individuals with diabetes that assesses your personal risk for developing kidney disease up to 12 years into the future.
  • How it works: Through a fasting blood draw, the test examines key biomarkers in your blood, alongside personal health information, to determine your future risk of kidney disease.
  • How often should you test? Suitable for anyone 18 and older with diabetes and an eGFR of 80 or above, NaviDKD can be utilized as early as upon diabetes diagnosis. Based on your initial risk assessment, your doctor may recommend re-testing every 1 to 5 years to monitor your risk over time.
  • Understanding results: The test categorizes your kidney disease risk into low, elevated, or high. This risk stratification aids in customizing your care plan and intervention options.
  • Why it matters: By identifying your risk early with NaviDKD and monitoring it as time goes on, you and your healthcare team can make more informed decisions about your health and diabetes management, focusing on interventions and lifestyle choices that support kidney wellness and overall well-being.

Wondering if NaviDKD is right for you? Take this quick quiz to find out!




Monitoring Kidney Health Effectively: eGFR and uACR

Two essential tests for tracking kidney function and detecting early signs of damage are eGFR and uACR. Learn more about each below:

Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR)

  • What is it? A blood test that estimates how well your kidneys are cleaning waste from your blood.
  • How it works: By measuring the levels of creatinine (a waste product from muscle activity) in your blood and considering your age, gender, and race, this test provides an estimate of your current kidney function.
  • How often should you test? At minimum, annual testing is recommended for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those who have had type 1 diabetes for over five years. If you've had kidney issues indicated by past tests, you may need to test more often.
  • Understanding results: The higher the number, the better. An eGFR result above 90 is ideal, while numbers below 60 for three months or longer could signal chronic kidney disease.
  • Why it matters: Monitoring your eGFR is crucial as it helps track any changes in kidney function over time. Early detection of any decline is important for managing your health and preventing further kidney damage.


Albumin to Creatinine Ratio (uACR)

  • What is it? A urine test that checks for levels of albumin, a type of protein. 
  • How it works: The test measures the amount of albumin (protein) compared to the amount of creatinine (waste product) in your urine. This ratio helps understand if there is any kidney damage that is causing protein leakage.
  • How often should you test? Testing at least once a year is recommended for people with type 2 diabetes or those who have had type 1 diabetes for over five years. More frequent testing may be needed if earlier results showed possible kidney issues.
  • Understanding results: In this case, a lower number is better. A uACR less than 30 mg/g is normal. Results showing 30 mg/g or higher can indicate kidney damage.
  • Why it matters: Keeping an eye on your uACR levels is key for spotting early signs of kidney damage. Catching and managing these signs early can help protect your kidneys from further harm.

GFR and ACR chart

Link to original source. This chart shows the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) getting worse based on GFR (how well your kidneys filter blood) and albuminuria (protein levels in urine) categories. Green means low risk; yellow means moderate risk; orange means high risk; and red means very high risk of the disease progressing.

Know that it is important to do both the eGFR and uACR tests. A good eGFR number might miss early signs of kidney damage that the uACR can catch by spotting protein in your urine. By completing both screenings regularly, you and your care team have the best chance of finding problems as early as possible!


Managing Diabetes and Protecting Your Kidneys: A1C and Blood Pressure

Beyond kidney function tests, managing your overall health as a person with diabetes also plays a crucial role in preventing kidney disease. Two additional key indicators, A1C and blood pressure, offer valuable insights into your health status and its impact on your kidneys. Understanding and controlling these numbers can be powerful tools in your health management toolbox. 

A1C Test (Hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c)

  • What is it? The A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months.
  • How it works: This test determines the percentage of your hemoglobin (a blood protein) that is coated with sugar, indicating your blood sugar control. Better control means lower risks of diabetes-related complications.
  • How often should you test? Typically, testing is advised twice a year for those with stable blood sugar control. However, more frequent testing may be needed for recent medication changes or if your blood sugar goals aren't being met.
  • Understanding results: While the recommended A1C target for most people with diabetes is below 7%, studies have shown that maintaining an A1C of 6% or lower can significantly slow or even halt the progression toward kidney disease. It's important to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the safest and most effective target for you.
  • Why it matters: Proactively managing your A1C levels is crucial for kidney health. Lowering your A1C to an optimal range can help minimize the risk of developing kidney disease and other complications of diabetes. 

A1C percentages and what they mean. In-range is less than 5.7%. Prediabetes is 5.7-6.4%. Diabetes is higher than 6.4%.
Original Source: Cleveland Clinic. 


Blood Pressure

  • What is it? This test measures the pressure inside your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. 
  • How it works: A blood pressure test uses a cuff around your arm to measure how hard your heart is working to pump blood through your arteries. It's a quick and painless way to check if your blood pressure is within a healthy range.
  • How often should you test? It's recommended to have your blood pressure checked at every healthcare visit or at least annually if your readings are consistently normal. For added convenience, consider using a reliable home monitor to check it yourself!
  • Understanding results: For a person with diabetes, it's recommended to keep blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg, where 140 is the systolic (pressure when your heart beats) and 90 is the diastolic (pressure when your heart rests). Readings above this may mean your blood pressure is high, and you might need to change your lifestyle or take medicine to help lower it. Work with your doctor to determine the right goal for you.
  • Why it matters: Keeping your blood pressure in check is important for preventing kidney damage. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure, so effective management is a key component of kidney health.

Blood Pressure Chart Source: American Heart Association

Key Takeaways

In this blog, we highlighted crucial screenings for people with diabetes to optimally manage their kidney health. This includes predictive screenings, regular monitoring, and other vital health metrics. Below, you'll find a quick reference table summarizing these essential tests for easy comparison. If you're unsure whether you've had these tests or if you're not familiar with your current health metrics, we strongly encourage you to consult with your doctor for personalized advice and guidance.

Test Name Purpose Ideal Frequency Ideal Results Key Importance
NaviDKD® Predicts risk of diabetes-related kidney disease For those 18+ with diabetes & eGFR ≥80: Test as early as at diagnosis, then 1-5 years as needed. Risk categorized as low, elevated, or high Early risk assessment for personalized care
eGFR Measures kidney filtering efficiency At least once a year  Above 90 is ideal; below 60 may indicate disease Tracks kidney function; detects decline early
uACR Checks for protein in urine At least once a year Less than 30 mg/g is normal; 30 mg/g or higher indicates damage Detection of kidney damage
A1C  Measures average blood sugar over 3 months At least twice a year, or more if not meeting goals Below 7% for most; lower targets may further reduce risk Manages diabetes; lowers complication risks
Blood Pressure Measures force of blood against artery walls Every healthcare visit, or at least annually Below 140/90 is ideal for diabetes; higher readings require action Prevents kidney damage; reduces heart disease risk

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is intended to promote understanding and knowledge of various health screenings but not to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information presented is generalized and may not apply to everyone's individual health situation. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before making any health-related decisions. 

Don't Miss a Blog This Month!

Stay on top of your kidney health journey with us throughout National Kidney Month. Sign up for our newsletter below to get the latest blog posts straight to your inbox. We’ll be diving into practical strategies for preventing kidney disease, exploring regular screenings, lifestyle adjustments, and more to help you take charge of your kidney health.

*By submitting this form, you consent to receiving email communications from us. You have the option to unsubscribe at any time.


Be sure to also follow along on social media:


About Journey Biosciences

Journey Biosciences is shifting the future of care through predictive innovations. Our flagship solution blends the precision of NaviDKD®, a clinically-validated predictive screening, with the AI-driven insights of Compass, offering up to 12 years of advanced diabetes-related kidney disease (DKD) detection and tailored intervention strategies. This groundbreaking approach improves patient outcomes, optimizes resource allocation, and reduces costs. Discover more about our transformative approach at

For media inquiries: