Monday, January 17, 2011
Why is a Urinalysis so Important?
Your child is being examined by the doctor and routine tests have been ordered. Maybe he is not feeling well. Maybe the child is running a low grade fever, maybe the fever has been over 100.4 for several days. Could be the child has many other symptoms: cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, or maybe no symptoms at all. The infant is cranky, the toddler won't pee, the elementary age child refuses to go in the cup, the teen thinks this is all ridiculous and you are beginning to think so too.
So why when your child is being evaluated by the family doctor or emergency room physician for whatever reason, is a routine urinalysis so important?
Here is why. The urine is inspected for blood, particles, or pus. It is inspected for microscopic ingredients like proteins, white blood cells, sodium, bilirubin, and glucose. It is analyzed for osmolality or how dilute it is. It can contain certain hormones that are only excreted when pregnancy, tumors, or other serious conditions are present so analyzing the urine during a diagnostic workup becomes valuable. All of these results are part of the bigger picture of your child's overall health.
The results of a urinalysis can tell the physician if the kidneys are working to filter correctly. A urinalysis can tell if there is an infection in the kidneys or bladder, if the child is hydrated, dehydrated, or has sustained an injury to the bladder or kidney. A urinalysis can indicate a possible concern for diabetes, kidney disease, kidney stones, abdominal trauma, and muscle breakdown from too much exercise or trauma.
A urinalysis can also tell the physician that an illness is benign, the child is adequately hydrated, and the virus will pass. It is hard to believe that all that information can come from less than a tablespoon of urine. Understanding of the importance of this data will make obtaining the specimen all the more important and helps you to help your child cooperate with the procedure.
Normal Urine values:
Appearance: clear, yellow,
Bilirubin - Negative
Colony count- less than 1000 in an infant
less than 10,000 for children
White blood Cells- 0-4
Blood- none to rare cell
Osmolality- 50-1,200 mOsm per kilogram of body weight
A urinalysis can be an important diagnostic tool to help the health care provider determine the direction of care that your child might need. It can also be a confirmation of good health. So be happy and just pee in the cup please.