Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN):
Blood Urea Nitrogen or BUN is a test that ascertains the health of the kidneys. It is a blood test that measures the amount of urea present in the blood. Urea is produced in the body as a byproduct during the digestion of proteins. It is produced by the liver. The urea thus produced takes along the nitrogen out of the body. Urea is eliminated from the body by the kidneys and is excreted through urine. BUN tends to increase if a high protein diet is consumed, in cases of a renal failure, congestive heart failure, hypothyroidism, low blood volume, liver disease, fever or infection, dehydration, gastrointestinal bleeding, usage of glucocorticoids, low levels of growth hormone, and poor circulation. All the above mentioned conditions cause an increased level of BUN. BUN levels reduce in cases of low protein diets, impaired liver functioning, pregnancy, over hydration, usage of anabolic steroids, and higher levels of growth hormones. Higher levels of BUN indicate an underlying condition that causes protein breakdown, which increases the risk of strokes and kidney failure. People with high BUN experience symptoms like bone and joint pains, excessive urination with discoloration, muscle cramps, restless legs, itchiness, trouble sleeping, and fatigue. BUN tests are generally done along with creatinine tests (See: Creatinine). The BUN-to-Creatinine ratio determines the kidney health. BUN is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A BUN level between 7 to 20 mg/dL is known to be a normal value; however, BUN tends to increase with age. This means that infants have lesser levels than adults. Since people with diabetes are prone to have kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy), it is important for them to get periodical BUN tests as advised by their doctors in order for early diagnosis of kidney disease. It is an essential aspect of diabetes management.