The Importance of Urinalysis

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One should not underestimate the value of diagnostic tests. Contrary to people’s excuses, undergoing the necessary diagnostic tests could actually save you more money. It must always be considered that you can acquire a disease without actually experiencing symptoms. And most of the time, when the disease manifests itself, either it’s too late or it’s much more expensive to treat.

One such vital diagnostic test is the urinalysis or the analysis of urine. The urinalysis is believed to be the oldest diagnostic test, being practiced even before the blood test. From the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, historians say that in 400 B.C., ancient healers used insects in analyzing a person’s urine.

The urinalysis is a simple yet important practical test which aids doctors in their diagnosis and provides lead to other medical conditions. It is useful in detecting certain metabolic and systemic diseases affecting the kidneys. A urine sample which is taken normally or with the aid of catheter is initially examined for physical characteristics like color, odor and transparency. Then, the sample will be microscopically examined to test for components like pus, parasitic organisms, casts, crystals, yeast cells, and white and red blood cells. A thin plastic strip called dipstick is used to test for the presence of sugar and protein and to measure the urine’s acidity.

Generally, urine should be clear and straw-colored with a slight odor. It should be free from protein, yeast cells, sugar, and other organisms. The presence of fibrous materials called casts implies a kidney disease, while the presence of parasites and yeast cells indicates contamination of the external genitalia. Red urine may indicate renal tumors, glomerulonephritis, or renal trauma. The presence of proteinuria, on the other hand, may mean kidney inflammation. A burnt sugar odor is a symptom of Maple Syrup Urine Disease, while a sugary and fruity odor may indicate Diabetes Mellitus. Turbid or cloudy urine with a foul-smelling odor may mean a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

These are only a few of serious diseases that can be detected by a urinalysis.

Diagnostic tests serve as windows to the inner body. Remember, early detection is the key to a more effective and cheaper cure. So take the test…and pass it!