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All you need to know about Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Test

Dr Rishika Agarwal 858 Views
Updated: 16 Jan 2024
Published: 19 Apr 2023
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Test

A blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test measures the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood to determine whether the kidney is functioning properly or not. When the body breaks down protein, urea nitrogen is a waste product produced in the liver. The kidneys are responsible for filtering out this waste product, and it is eliminated from the body through urination.

Why is BUN Test Performed?

BUN test is often conducted along with other blood tests like creatinine blood test to evaluate kidney functioning. Some of the medical conditions the test can diagnose include:

  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Liver damage
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Malnutrition, etc.

The BUN test is often performed to check whether the treatment for dialysis is working effectively or not. It may also be performed during hospital stays, as part of regular checkups, etc.

Preparation of BUN Test

No special preparation is required before undergoing a BUN test. However, notify your doctor if you’re consuming any prescription or over-the-counter medications which may alter BUN levels.

What do BUN Test Results Mean?

Abnormal BUN levels may indicate liver or kidney damage. The results of the test are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), and the BUN levels may vary based on the age and gender of a patient.

Generally, normal BUN levels are as follows:

  • 8 to 24 mg/dL in adult men
  • 6-21 mg/dL in adult women
  • 7-20 mg/dL in children aged between 1-17

Both high as well as low BUN levels may indicate some problem with the health of a patient. Some of the conditions associated with high BUN levels include:

  • Heart disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • High levels of protein
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Stress or shock

On the other hand, conditions associated with low BUN levels include:

  • Overhydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Liver failure
  • Extreme lack of protein in diet

Your doctor may recommend other tests such as a urine test for proper diagnosis of a condition before beginning treatment. However, proper hydration stands as the best way to lower down the BUN levels. Also, it must be noted that abnormal BUN levels don’t always indicate a kidney disease. Factors such as dehydration, pregnancy, low or high intake of protein, ageing, etc. can alter the BUN levels without indicating an adverse health condition.

Risks of BUN Test

Unless a patient has a bleeding disorder or is taking medications such as blood thinners, regular activities can be resumed immediately after the test.

Regular health checkups are extremely important to keep several adverse medical conditions away. Nowadays, you can even book online blood test packages offered by quality pathlabs to get accurate test results while saving on money. 

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