NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, August 3, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — Urinalysis offers important clinical information and can tell a lot about a patient’s overall health, including possible presence of various types of cancers, sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections, kidney disorders, diabetes, even high blood pressure and traces of pesticides from eating vegetables and fruits, according to Robert Segal MD, co-founder and CEO of LabFinder, an online scheduling platform for all patient laboratory and radiology appointments.
“Testing of urine is a ready diagnostic tool, which is most often performed noninvasively on samples a patient provides by urinating in a cup in the doctor’s office or collecting it at home during a 24-hour period, depending on the type of evaluation ordered. Urinalysis is often part of a routine medical checkup; used as screening for pregnancy, pre-employment, or illicit drugs; and recommended if the patient exhibits signs of diabetes, kidney disease, or infection, or is experiencing painful urination, urinary incontinence, or high fever, says Dr. Segal, a renowned cardiologist and expert on medical testing.He points to the significance of urinalysis throughout the history of medical laboratory science, which developed about 6,000 years ago. An article on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (bit.ly/42DRoT0) refers to “ancient physicians” speaking of urine as a “window to the body’s inner workings and [reflection of] different diseases.” In fact, Hippocrates, the authors state, “described bubbles on the surface of fresh urine as a sign of long-term kidney disease and associated urinary sediment with fever.”
But, despite urine’s versatility and usefulness as indicator of a patient’s medical condition, “doctors and clinical laboratories should be applying updated urine testing protocols and criteria to ensure correct diagnoses, especially of relatively common disorders like urinary tract infections, and to reduce unnecessary follow-up evaluations, treatment, and patient anxiety,” Dr. Segal cautions.
Experts agree. In a study published in a 2021 issue of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (bit.ly/3CnCB4o), scientists indicate “In many laboratory practices, urinalysis procedures are outdated and suboptimal, therefore leading to inadequate laboratory results.” When they involve urinary tract infection criteria, “suboptimal” laboratory findings may “generate misleading diagnoses and influence the treating physician to unnecessarily prescribe antibiotics, consequently contributing…to development of antimicrobial resistance.”
In a 2021 edition of Clinical Laboratory News (bit.ly/45YUqE6), authors write that “to boost efficiency, many laboratories have implemented reflex testing approaches. If paired with carefully designed electronic order options and clinical decision-support systems, this strategy has the potential to optimize test utilization, improve result turnaround times, and reduce laboratory costs for reagents and labor.” Reflex testing involves careful application of specific clinical criteria that may trigger further analysis on the basis of initial test findings.
Directing patients to the highest quality, most cost-effective laboratories and ensuring patients quick release of accurate testing results are among reasons why Dr. Segal formed LabFinder. The LabFinder system electronically connects patients and doctors with local, quality lab and radiology centers for a seamless medical experience; offers timely test scheduling; and serves as one central repository for users’ testing results.
The most common method of urine testing is physical, namely, examining the color, consistency, and odor of the sample, Dr. Segal says. Chemical testing involves dipping a coated, plastic dipstick into the urine. The stick changes color depending on the urine’s acidity and presence of substances such as:
• Proteins that may signal a heart disorder.
• Nitrites, often produced by a urinary tract infection.
• Ketones, which can indicate a patient may be developing life-threatening, diabetes-related ketoacidosis.
• Bilirubin, a signal for liver or bile duct disorders.
• Leukocyte esterase enzyme, a sign of inflammation in urinary tract or kidneys.
The primary drawback of chemical testing is its inability to gauge quantities of certain substances in the urine and, therefore, assess the severity of a condition, Dr. Segal states.
A third type of urine evaluation is performed at the microscopic level where clinicians can look for bacteria and parasites, traces of blood in the sample, or an elevated number of white blood cells – all indicators of disease, Dr. Segal says.
Most encouraging, according to Dr. Segal, have been the advancements made in urine testing. For example, until now, urine cytology, the evaluation of a sample for presence of cancer cells, has not been a reliable enough technology for cancer screening. However, in an online article (bit.ly/45YjFGY), the American Cancer Society says newer forms of testing are now being used to find tumor markers in urine, including “bladder tumor-associated antigens;” mucin and carcinoembryonic antigens, which are found in tumor cells; and higher levels of certain proteins related to bladder and other cancers.
Meanwhile, to any patient asked to submit a urine sample for testing, Dr. Sega offers these tips:
• Make sure your external genitourinary area is as clean as possible before collecting a sample.
• If given a urine-sample cup in the doctor’s office, avoid touching and contaminating the inside of that container.
• If told to collect urine during a 24-hour period, follow the physician’s or nurse’s instructions fully.
• Avoid becoming anxious should testing results show some substances in the urine as being above or below normal ranges. Not every “abnormality” is a sign of disease or a medical condition requiring treatment.
Bio: Robert Segal MD, board-certified in cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, and nuclear cardiology. He is founder of Manhattan Cardiology and Medical Offices of Manhattan, and Co-Founder of LabFinder. https://www.labfinder.com/
About: LabFinder is a consumer-facing platform that transforms the patient experience through seamless lab & radiology testing, guiding patients to conveniently located testing centers, handling appointment bookings, offering telehealth services, and allowing patients to review their test results all in one place. LabFinder supports patients through their care journey from booking to billing—reducing expenses, hurdles, and frustrations. www.labfinder.com.