What does your urine tell?
20 February 2022
Urine is a sterile waste product containing water, salts and urea that is secreted by our kidneys and is excreted via the urethra. Though it is a waste product, it can signify several details regarding the health status of our body. The various characteristics observed during urine analysis are:
The physical characteristics of urine are:
· Colour- Usually urine is yellow-amber in colour. However, it depends on the diet and water intake of an individual. Higher water intake reduces the concentration of urine giving it a pale-yellow colour and a dehydrated individual would have a dark yellow concentrated urine. Red colour urine indicates food items such as beets, blackberries or presence of blood which could signify a kidney damage or disease.
· Odour- Usually urine has a mild smell of ammonia. A strong odour signifies a higher concentration of ammonia. In patients with diabetes mellitus, a sweet fruity odour is emitted due to presence of glucose or ketone bodies.
· pH- It can range from 4.6- 8.0. Usually, it is around 6.0. However, it depends on the diet of an individual. A vegetarian diet will provide an alkaline pH and a non-vegetarian diet or a protein-rich diet will provide an acidic pH to urine.
· Turbidity- Usually fresh urine is clear or very slightly cloudy. A cloudy or turbid urine can signify suspended particles which could be a result of urinary tract infections (UTI), increased cells or obstructions.
· Density- It ranges from 0.001 to 0.035.
Abnormalities in the physical characteristics could be minor due to change in diet or water intake. But it also can signify a severe problem such as diabetes mellitus or damage and hence, these indications should not be ignored.
The chemical composition of urine includes:
Water (95%), urea, chloride, sodium, potassium, creatinine and other inorganic and organic compounds such as proteins and hormones.
It can also include abnormal components such as:
· Proteins- Such a condition is known as proteinuria which can indicate a leaky or damaged glomerulus.
· Glucose- Such a condition is often known as glycosuria and it is observed in patients with diabetes mellitus.
· Ketone bodies- Such a condition is known as ketonuria which can indicate uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, starvation or high protein diet.
· Bilirubin- Such a condition is known as bilirubinuria which can indicate liver disease and gall bladder obstructions.
· Red blood cells (RBCs)- Such a condition is known as hematuria which can indicate injury or infection.
· Hemoglobin- Such a condition is known as hemoglobinuria which can indicate hemolytic anemia, mismatch transfusions.
· White blood cells (WBCs)- Such a condition is known as pyuria which can indicate UTI.
Other terms included in urination are-
· Oligouria- Abnormally small amount of urine excreted. It could be due to kidney damage.
· Polyuria- Abnormally large amount of urine excreted. It is observed in diabetic patients.
· Dysuria- Painful urination. It could be due to UTI.
Microscopic analysis used to identify abnormalities:
Microscopic structures in which cells are bound to each other formed by the kidneys are called as urinary casts. They can be classified as:
· Red blood cell casts- They may indicate glomerulonephritis, vasculitis, or malignant hypertension.
· White blood cell casts- They may indicate acute interstitial nephritis, exudative glomerulonephritis, or severe pyelonephritis.
· Epithelial cell casts- They may indicate toxin-induced, acute tubular necrosis, hepatitis, and cytomegalovirus.
· Granular casts- They may indicate acute tubular necrosis, and are often composed of proteins, especially antibodies.
· Hyaline casts- They may indicate dehydration.
· Bacterial casts- They may indicate UTI.
So the next time you take a urine test, make sure to read and understand your reports to learn about your health status.
Urine | Boundless Anatomy and Physiology. Courses.lumenlearning.com. Retrieved 19 January 2022, from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ap/chapter/urine/.
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