Urine analysis is a lab test prescribed to patients for one of several reasons. First, it may be used to determine the cause of numerous symptoms, such as abdominal pain, painful urination, back pain, and blood in the urine. Second, it is used to monitor the treatment process regularly. Third, it may be administered as a part of a routine check to assess the patient’s overall health. Urine analysis is a highly sensitive procedure, showing up to 100% sensitivity in some tests. However, the specificity of the test varies depending on the components included. Overall, it is considered valid for its purposes. The procedure of urine analysis differs depending on the desired data. The specimen is collected in a yellow top tube and submitted to the lab. If the abnormality is visually detectable (e.g. blood in urine), a visual exam is performed.
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When it is necessary to analyze the proportion of red and white blood cells or the presence of bacteria, a microscopic examination is conducted. Finally, a chemical analysis (known as a dipstick test) is performed to measure acidity, the presence of proteins, and other chemical components. Normal results include clear yellow color, a pH of 4.5 to 8, glucose below 130 mg/d, and the absence of ketones and nitrites (MSD Manual, n.d.). The abnormalities detected during tests often imply one of the two conditions. The first one is kidney disease, which can be described as a gradual decline of kidneys’ functionality. The second condition is a urinary tract infection – a state in which a certain part of the urinary tract suffers from bacteria. Importantly, the findings of the analysis can be altered as a result of dietary habits, including liquid intake, effects of certain foods on urine color, dehydration, the use of medications, stress levels, and prolonged exposure of a specimen. It is recommended to educate patients on the principles of specimen submission before testing and the importance of regular tests after the test.
Liver Enzyme Levels (SGOT, SGPT, LDL) and Serum Amylase
Liver enzyme levels test is administered to detect the abnormalities in liver functionality, detect the onset of liver infections, assess the magnitude of side effects of certain medications, confirm the presence of liver disorders, or evaluate the progress of liver condition treatment. It should be pointed out that any given liver enzyme test is neither sensitive nor specific enough when used in isolation. Thus, these tests are typically used in combination, at which point they become sufficiently valid. The testing procedure involves blood sampling performed in a specialized facility or a hospital. A pressure device is used to increase blood pressure locally, after which a vessel is punctured, and blood is drawn. A green top tube is used in the process.
The normal reference values for the test are 5 to 40 units per liter of serum for SGOT and 7 to 56 units per liter of serum for SGPT (Davis, 2017). The normal values for LDL are between 100 and 130 mg/dL, with 100 or lower is the optimal level. It should be noted that the specified levels may vary depending on the procedures and techniques used by different healthcare providers. The abnormal test results usually imply the onset or exacerbation of a liver disease, which is associated with high levels of SGOT, SGPT, and LDL. It is uncommon for liver enzyme levels to decrease in response to a specific condition. However, high liver enzyme levels do not confirm the disease since they can be affected by several interfering factors. For instance, numerous medications can substantially increase test readings. Also, fluctuations of enzyme levels in healthy individuals may go above the identified maximum. Thus, it is recommended to educate the patients on the possible irregularities before the test and on the variety of implications after the results are available.
Serum Electrolytes (CO2, Chloride, K, Na)
A serum electrolytes test is intended to assess the state of fluid pH in the organism and is thus typically ordered as a part of a routine health check. The test is usually considered sensitive and specific for its purposes. Nevertheless, it is a common practice to include it into a comprehensive metabolic panel alongside creatinine and glucose tests to improve its validity. The procedure involves obtaining a specimen in the form of a blood sample using a venipuncture technique. A green top tube is used for specimen handling. Refrigeration is permissible for up to 7 days. Centrifugation is applied to prevent clotting. The normal reference values are 3.5 to 5 mg per liter for potassium, 135 to 145 mg per liter for sodium, 98 to 108 mg per liter for chloride, and 22 to 32 mg per liter for carbon dioxide (Farinde, 2014).
The abnormal results in the form of low sodium levels suggest the development of hyponatremia, whereas the excessive electrolyte levels imply hypernatremia, both of which can develop into a major health threat. Also, kidney disease, lung disease, and several heart conditions can be investigated with the help of the serum electrolytes test. However, the results can be compromised by several interfering factors. The most common factors are age differences and dietary habits. In particular, food content and caloric intake may elevate electrolyte levels above the upper normal range. Thus, the patients need to be educated on the effects of different medicines on test outcomes before the test. It is also recommended to outline the implications of abnormal results to ensure timely detection and proper treatment in the future.
Davis, C. P. (2017). Liver blood tests – Normal, low, and high ranges & results. Web.
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Farinde, A. (2014). Lab values, normal adult. Web.
MSD Manual. (n.d.). Urine tests: Normal values. Web.