Life Options, a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

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Answers From Our Expert: Dialysis Treatments & Lab Tests

Q: How do I explain BUN to someone who has just had an abnormal lab result for the first time?

A: You can tell this person that as kidneys fail, BUN levels rise. As kidney damage worsens, the BUN values rise higher than 50. It is not unusual to see very high BUN levels, sometimes even over 100. I'd suggest that you alert the person to symptoms he/she might experience with high BUN such as an ammonia taste in the mouth, metallic taste of meat, poor appetite, nausea, or vomiting. You can find more information about BUN and other lab values here.

Life Options has a wealth of free information for people with kidney disease including teaching tools (fact sheets, a goal-setting worksheet, and a patient interest checklist) in our Free Materials section.

Finally, Life Options encourages those who have abnormal kidney labs or even small amounts of protein in their urine to ask for a referral to a nephrologist (kidney doctor). This specialist can work with the person's primary care physician by suggesting ways to protect the kidneys and slow kidney damage.

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