What Pee Tells You About Your Health
It’s time everyone took urine more seriously. After all, pee can tell you a lot about your health, including your risk of heart disease and kidney damage.
However, according to a new study presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s 2014 Spring Clinical Meetings, many doctors are ignoring the presence of abnormally high levels of protein in the urine, which is easily seen using a urine sample.
In addition, this condition is simple to correct and potentially deadly if untreated. That’s because too much protein in the urine, a condition known as proteinuria, is an early sign of kidney damage and a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Of the 298 hospitalized patients evaluated in the study,
- 40 percent had proteinuria, yet 63 percent of them were not being treated for the condition
- One-third of the patients with proteinuria also had high blood pressure, yet less than half of them (43%) were taking an anti-proteinuric antihypertensive medication (e.g., diltiazem, verapamil, Ramipril)
- 41 percent of patients with proteinuria were also taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen), which can make kidney function worse
The presence of protein in the urine is “a huge opportunity to intervene and prevent kidney damage and cardiovascular mortality in patients that have chronic kidney disease,” according to the study’s lead author, Vishesh Kumar, MD, a resident at Albany Medical College. But what else can protein in pee tell us?
In a recent study from the University of Calgary, scientists reported that protein in pee can be an indication of life expectancy. When evaluating data from more than 810,000 adults, researchers determined that
- Men without protein in their pee lived 8.2 years longer than did men who had high levels of protein in their urine
- Women without proteinuria lived 10.5 years longer than their peers who had excess protein
Protein in your urine also can be an indication of memory problems and cognitive decline, according to two other research endeavors.
Other secrets pee can reveal
Urine testing can help clinicians uncover various other health secrets, such as the presence of
- Bladder infections
- Use of illegal drugs
Doctors also use pee samples to monitor kidney function. Several different types of simple urine testing can be done to gather information.
Pee may not be the most pleasant thing to think about, but this natural “throw away” by product of life can be the bearer of much important information. It’s color and odor as well as the possible presence of protein, sugar (glucose), nitrites, red blood cells, white blood cells, ketones (by products of fat metabolism), bacteria, and crystals can reveal much about your health.
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National Kidney Foundation