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A urinalysis is used to detect and manage a wide range of disorders, such as urinary tract infections, kidney disease and diabetes.
This test identifies and measures some of the by-products of normal and abnormal metabolism, cells, cell fragments, and bacteria in the urine. Urine is produced by the kidneys, which filter wastes out of the blood, help regulate the amount of water in the body, and conserve proteins, electrolytes, and other compounds that the body can reuse. Anything that is not needed is excreted in the urine.
Several diseases can be diagnosed in their early stages by detecting abnormalities in the urine. Abnormally high levels of glucose, protein, bilirubin, red blood cells, white blood cells, crystals, and bacteria can indicate disease.
Urine for a urinalysis can be collected at any time. The first-morning sample is the most valuable because it is more concentrated and more likely to yield abnormal results. Because of the potential (particularly in women) to contaminate urine with bacteria and cells from the surrounding skin, it is important to first clean the genitalia.
Men should wipe the tip of the penis; women should spread the labia of the vagina and clean from front to back. As you start to urinate, let some urine fall into the toilet, then collect a sample of urine in the container provided. Before a urinalysis, tell VisitHealth's medic about any medications, vitamins or other supplements you're taking.
- Visual examination, which evaluates the urine’s colour, clarity, and concentration;
- Chemical examination, which tests chemically for a number of substances that provide valuable information about health and disease.
Due to methodology limitations some test samples can require further manual microscopy investigations.
A urinalysis is done for several reasons:
- To check your overall health: Your GP may recommend a urinalysis as part of a routine medical exam, pregnancy checkup, pre-surgery preparation, or on hospital admission to screen for a variety of disorders, such as diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease
- To diagnose a medical condition: Your GP may suggest a urinalysis if you're experiencing abdominal pain, back pain, frequent or painful urination, blood in your urine, or other urinary problems to diagnose the cause of these symptoms.
- To monitor a medical condition: If you've been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as kidney disease or a urinary tract disease, your GP may recommend a urinalysis on a regular basis to monitor your condition and treatment.
Urinalysis results can have many interpretations. Abnormal findings are a warning that something may be wrong and should be looked at further. Normal urinalysis results do not mean there is no illness. Urinalysis is only one screening test that can provide a general overview of a person’s health. Your doctor must look at the urinalysis results alongside your health complaints and other information available.
Substances that cause abnormal urine colour (e.g. Pyridium) may affect the readability of the reagent areas by masking colour development or producing a colour reaction that could be interpreted as a false positive.
The following may cause false positive or falsely negative or falsely low or high results:
False-negative: Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), Ketone bodies, High specific gravity
False-negative: Ascorbic acid
Note: Indican can produce a yellow-orange to a red colour response that may interfere with the interpretation of a negative or a positive bilirubin reading.
False-positive: Highly pigmented urine, Levodopa metabolites, Compounds such as mesna that contain sulfhydryl groups.
Falsely elevated: Moderate quantities of protein.
Falsely low: Highly buffered alkaline urines.
False-positive: Hypochlorite, Microbial peroxidase.
Falsely low: High specific gravity, Capoten
Excess urine on the strip may cause “run over” in which the acid buffer from the protein reagent will run onto the pH area, causing a false lowering of the pH.
False-positive: Highly buffered or alkaline urines, Contamination of urine with antiseptic and detergents containing ammonium compounds, Skin cleansers containing chlorhexidine
False-positive: Substances known to interfere with Ehrlich’s reagent (p-aminosalicylic acid and sulfonamides) may react with the reagent area. Atypical colour reactions with p-aminobenzoic acid.
False-negative: Ascorbic acid.
Reduced sensitivity: High specific gravity.
Note: A negative result does not in itself prove that there is no significant bacteriuria.
Decreased reactivity: Elevated glucose concentrations, High specific gravity, Presence of cephalexin, cephalothin, High concentrations of oxalic acid, Tetracycline.
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.
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