Urinalysis

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urinalysis
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The Urinalysis test panel screens for a variety of conditions including urinary tract infections ( UTI ), urinary bladder disease, kidney disease and diabetes. Tests included: Color, Appearance, Specific gravity, pH, Protein, Glucose, Occult blood, Ketones, Leukocyte esterase, Nitrite, Bilirubin, Urobilinogen, and Microscopic examination of urine sediment

The Urinalysis test screens for a variety of conditions including urinary tract infection (UTI), urinary bladder disease, kidney disease and diabetes. Many systemic illnesses can affect results and significant deviations from the normal range may require further evaluation by your physician.

Tests Included

  • Urinalysis, Complete With Microscopic Examination
  • Color
  • Appearance
  • Specific gravity
  • pH
  • Protein
  • Glucose
  • Occult blood
  • Ketones
  • Leukocyte esterase
  • Nitrite
  • Bilirubin
  • Urobilinogen
  • Microscopic examination of urine sediment

 

Limitations: Insufficient volume may limit the extent of procedures performed. Metabolites of Pyridium® may interfere with the dipstick reactions by producing color interference. High vitamin C intake may cause an underestimate of glucosuria or a false-negative nitrite test.

 

Urinalysis - Everything You Want to Know

One of the most efficient analyses with zero medical intrusion is called urinalysis, also called urine test. It is used to examine substances from the urine at a chemical, microscopic or visual level.

Usually, healthcare providers request a urinalysis because of its complex assessment. Depending on the symptoms you may encounter, the doctor will decide what indicators to be examined.

Usually, this test is performed when the patient presents symptoms associated with a urinary infection, the urinary system, or liver disorders.

What is the Urinary System Function?

The urinary system has multiple functions besides removing waste produced by kidneys in the form of urine. It also balances the body's fluids and electrolytes and releases hormones that control blood pressure and red blood cell production. Another less known function is to maintain the calcium and phosphorus levels that translate into healthy bones. 

As the renal system (urinary system) is vulnerable in the face of multiple infections, some leading to kidney blockage, it is essential to remove waste when the body feels like it. Do not hold pee for too long, stay hydrated, have a meticulous hygiene routine, and take a urine test at least once a year.

What are the Symptoms that Indicate You Need a Urinalysis?

It is recommended to follow a urine test when you have one or many of these symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain (in the kidney area)
  • Pain/burning while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine (the urine turns pink-red)
  • Dark urine for prolonged periods, even if hydrated
  • Urinary incontinence

Other situations when the urinalysis is requested:

  • Routine medical examination
  • When monitoring the progress of a treatment
  • At the admission to a hospital
  • Before the surgery takes place

What are the Tests Included in Urinalysis?

Urinalysis comprises a large number of tests, each one being valuable for the identification of certain disorders. Generally, your doctor will want to check three aspects of your urine, color and appearance, chemical, and microscopic findings.

Chemical tests - this is performed under the dipsticks procedure using test strips introduced in the urine sample and color according to the substances encountered.

Protein - in the urine test, proteins such as albumin are examined to determine disorders such as kidney disorders, dehydration, or heart failure. Lower protein values in the urine are not a concern, while higher values may indicate a kidney disorder.

PH - The PH indicated the levels of acidity in the urine. High PH levels can be a sign of kidney disorders or tract infections. On the other side, low PH levels signify diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, or diarrhea.

Ketones - ketone is a product of your body when breaking down fatty acids and fats for energy. This process happens when you are not consuming enough carbohydrates or glucose. Ketones are also checked when there is a suspicion of diabetes-related ketoacidosis.

Glucose - Glucose is often examined in the blood. If glucose is found in the urine, this may be a sign of diabetes.

Bilirubin - this is a yellow pigment produced by the liver, found in the bile. Abnormal values for this indicator may indicate a liver disorder.

Nitrite - a positive test for nitrite indicates a urinary tract infection. Nitrite should not be confused with nitrate, a product from bacteria found in urine. There are cases when the nitrite test turns negative while having a urinary infection. This is why it is best to have other indicators examined simultaneously.

Leukocyte esterase urine - an enzyme found in the white blood cells. If the test turns positive, then this is an indication of inflammation in the urinary system.

Urine specific gravity - this test will evaluate the concentration of all the chemical elements from the urine. Abnormal values are associated with many different health disorders, and doctors should consider this alongside other tests.

Microscopic examination

Urinalysis-microscopic examination: This exam can identify substances that cannot be seen with a bare eye. The elements looked for at the microscope are:

Red blood cells (erythrocytes) - Elevated levels of RBC may indicate kidney disorders, blood problems, or urinary system cancer.

White blood cells (leukocyte) - a high number of these cells indicate an active infection

Bacteria/ Parasites - indicates infection of the urinary tract.

Crystals - an indication of kidney stones

Epithelial cells - while this may indicate tumors in case of abnormal values, it may also happen that the sample was contaminated, and the test should be redone.

Tube shaped proteins - this may appear in case of kidney disorder/modification

Occult blood - blood found in urine may indicate more issues; it may be a sign of kidney disorder, infections, cancers, or coagulation problems. For this indicator, various analyses are needed to identify the problem.

Urobilinogen - urobilinogen or urine is a product of erythrocytes processing. This indicator has higher levels in case of hemolytic jaundice or other intestinal disorders.

Microscopic examination of urine sediment - Your healthcare provider may ask you to perform a test for the urine sediment as well to determine whether small, undetected elements may be present in the urine, such as:

  • Casts
  • Cells
  • Cell fragments
  • Mucus
  • Crystals
  • Bacteria/germs

Color & Appearance

Many aspects can affect the urine color, either due to food and medication or a particular disorder. Colors are significant indicators, especially before taking a blood/urine test.

Transparent - If the urine is clear, this may mean that you consume enough water. If cloudy, it may be indicative of presence of compounds or cells.

Light yellow - Your urine is normal, your body is adequately hydrated, and your kidneys are functioning well

Dark yellow - Still normal. It would help if you stayed more hydrated, so make sure that you drink more water whenever you can

Honey yellow - You don't drink enough water for the body to work correctly.

Orange - When the urine turns orange, it is still possible that dehydration may be the cause. If the color persists, further should be done to evaluate whether a hepatic disorder or urinary bladder issues may be present.

Brown - This may be an indication of hepatic disease or severe dehydration.

Pink or Red - Usually, when urine turns pink or red, this may mean that blood is present. The red color may also appear after eating certain foods with intense red pigment. If a doctor confirms this, further tests should be performed to evaluate possibilities for hepatic disorders, infections, tumors, or sometimes mercury intoxication.

Blue/Green urine - This is not a common situation. This color may be a sign of a rare genetic disease, or in milder cases, you've ingested a food coloring product or a result of medicine.

Whenever you see abnormal color in your urine, you must note how frequently this happens to identify whether you were consuming products with coloring. Some highly pigmented foods like beet, blueberries, turmeric, and certain medicines and supplements may change the color of your urine. 

In terms of appearance, acidity and foaming could be present in the urine. If any of those appear, this may signify a protein excess or kidney disorders.

How to Prepare for the Urinalysis Test?

The first thing to do is to have a clinical evaluation by a doctor. You should follow the instructions of the doctor before collecting as otherwise, the results may be different than expected. After this, your healthcare provider will issue a referral for the analysis to perform.

Menstrual discharge may affect the values of the test. Your healthcare provider may indicate you to give up on certain medication before collecting or to collect first thing in the morning or later in the day. Also if you are a woman, it is important to specify whether you are menstruating or not before the test.

How Can You Interpret the Results of Your Urinalysis Test?

The urinalysis results may provide different interpretations because of the high number of tests. Most times, values out of the normal limit indicate a medical problem. Your healthcare provider may ask you to repeat the tests alongside other blood tests for higher diagnostic accuracy.

Since neither disorder can be fully diagnosed using a urinalysis, this test is often used to show the healthcare provider's direction. The doctors need to get as much information as possible from the patient about symptoms, diet, and medication to follow the correct route.

 

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