When patients in her support group complained that they did not find out about the level/stage of their kidney function or the GFR (glomerular filtration rate) until it was too late and they were headed towards dialysis, Lana Schmidt decided to do something about it.
"Blood labs throughout the United States need to change their GFR lab reporting to show the exact number of the GFR and the stage of kidney disease," says Schmidt.
Currently, it is common practice to report on the blood labs GFR greater than 60 normal, when 59 is stage 3. This change is needed.
"So both patients and their doctors are informed whether or not they have kidney disease and at what level."
It has taken years of advocating, but Lana was able to get this change made at her local hospital in Quincy, Illinois.
What difference does this make?
By finding out about their GFR before a patient is considered in kidney failure, they can change their diet to slow or stop the progression, get educated about the disease, or even join one of the many programs available to learn more about it.
"Finding out earlier, as we know with any disease, is always better than later," says Schmidt.
Though she is happy to see the change at her local hospital, Schmidt doesn't plan on stopping to advocate for this change at other health systems nationwide.