What does Urinalysis Mean and What Tests are Conducted in it?
Urinalysis has been considered as a reliable medical test which correctly detects a disease, if any. Urinalysis is also a part of pregnancy tests and general health checkups. It involves examination of urine across various parameters so that a concrete diagnosis can be made.
If you are unwell and visit a doctor, the first thing your doctor will ask you to do is to undergo some tests. The doctor will then check your medical test results, compare them with your previous normal readings and then give out some treatments accordingly. This is what a normal diagnosis of a disease looks like. If you visit your doctor for your annual general checkup, even then, the doctor will recommend some tests for you to undergo so that he/she can confirm your well-being. Medical tests, especially today, when technology is taking medical sciences to new heights every day, are one of the surest ways to diagnose a patient’s disease or confirm his/her well-being. One such common medical test is the urinalysis.
What is Urinalysis and Why is it Done?
Urinalysis or urine analysis or urine test is a medical test which is performed to diagnose certain ailments at their early stages. These ailments include kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, urinary tract infection, etc. Urinalysis, however, can also be part of the monthly or annual general health checkup. Apart from checking the patient’s overall health or diagnosing an ailment, a doctor can also ask a patient to opt for urinalysis to monitor his condition continuously, after an ailment has been detected already. Urinalysis is also a part of pregnancy checkups and pre-surgery checkups. Because of its wide range of usage, the global urinalysis market is predicted to grow at an exceptional rate.
What Tests are Included in Urinalysis?
Though, urinalysis can be done for several reasons as stated above, generally, urine is examined by health experts on the basis of three things:
- Color and appearance: Healthcare examiners check for the color and appearance of the urine with the “naked eye”. Thus, it is a visual examination. Though the color of urine depends on the patient’s food and water intake, normal urine is generally pale yellow in color. Red color urine or cloudy urine is generally considered as an indication of kidney stones or urinary tract infection, respectively. Red color urine can also denote presence of red blood cells in urine which can be a sign of damaged urinary tract.
- Microscopic findings: In this examination, examiners take a sample of urine to examine it under the microscope. Healthcare examiners, in this examination check urine for presence of microscopic substances such as bacteria or other pathogens, cells or cell fragments, urinary casts and crystals, mucus or pus cells, red blood cells, etc.
- Chemical findings: For this type of examination, healthcare examiners use special plastic strips, with some chemicals on it, to investigate the chemical composition of the patient’s urine. Since these sticks are called dipsticks, sometimes chemical findings test is also called dipstick test. Medical examiners, through the dipstick test, check for:
- pH level of the patient’s urine: To check whether it is acidic or basic.
- Proteins: Presence of proteins is generally a sign of improper kidney functioning, as healthy kidneys ought to leave behind vital nutrients like proteins while filtering out waste products.
- Glucose: Presence of glucose in urine is generally considered as a sign of diabetic patient.
- White blood cells: Presence of white blood cells or pus cells is generally considered as a sign of infection.
- Bilirubin: Presence of this yellow pigment in urine is generally considered as a sign of unhealthy liver.
- Red blood cells: Presence of red blood cells is generally considered as a sign of infection.
- Concentration of nutrients is also checked: Higher concentration denotes that the patient isn’t hydrated enough and is drinking less water than what is required.
- Ketones and nitrites: Presence of ketones generally denote diabetes but it requires follow-up testing, while presence of nitrites denote infection.
The Bottom Line
Urinalysis is a common test, wherein the patient is expected to drink enough liquids before taking the urine sample. Depending on the purpose of the test, the examiner can ask the patient to undergo a 24-hour urine collection urinalysis or clean catch specimen urinalysis. Both these types serve different purposes but have the common advantage of diagnosing a disease, if any, way before even symptoms set in.
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