ResultsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Results of the blood urea nitrogen test are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in the United States and in millimoles per liter (mmol/L) internationally. A normal range for blood urea nitrogen is generally 8 to 24 mg/dL for adult men (2.86 to 8.57 mmol/L) and 6 to 21 mg/dL (2.14 to 7.50 mmol/L) for adult women. However, urea nitrogen levels vary by age. Infants have lower levels than other people do.
Generally, a high blood urea nitrogen level means your kidneys aren't working well, particularly if the result is above 50 mg/dL (17.85 mmol/L). But, elevated urea nitrogen can also be due to urinary tract obstruction, congestive heart failure or gastrointestinal bleeding. Your blood urea nitrogen level may also increase as a result of dehydration, shock, burns or fever. Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, may increase urea nitrogen levels, too. In addition, a high protein diet can cause your BUN level to increase.
Lower than normal blood urea nitrogen levels may be a sign of liver damage. But low levels can also be caused by malnutrition, a low-protein diet or a high-carbohydrate diet.
If the results of your BUN test are higher or lower than normal, your doctor may want to confirm the results with another blood or urine test.
If kidney damage is a concern, it's important to control any conditions that may be contributing to the damage. It's especially important to manage your blood pressure, which often requires medication. You can't undo permanent kidney damage, but with appropriate treatment you may be able to prevent further damage.
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