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A urinalysis provides a vast amount of information about a patient’s health. There are many reasons a sample may be sent to a urinalysis laboratory in Los Angeles. It provides information about a patient’s health, and it determines if there is anything abnormal with the appearance, concentration, and content.
Urinalysis is widely considered to be one of the most reliable and versatile tests that can be performed at a lab due to the wide range of information the results can provide.
Why is a Urinalysis Done?
Urine testing is often associated with drug testing and pregnancy. Urinalysis for either of these purposes is unique in that the purpose is to identify substances that aren’t normally found in urine. A pregnancy test looks for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy. A drug test also looks for specific substances. A drug test may screen for as many as 12 different substances at once, although a standard pre-employment drug screening typically screens for five common drugs, including amphetamine/methamphetamine, cocaine, opiates, and THC (marijuana).
Oftentimes, a doctor will send a sample to a urinalysis laboratory in Los Angeles for the purpose of checking a patient’s overall health or as part of an attempt to diagnosis a suspected medical condition or rule certain conditions out. The sample may be collected and examined at a doctor’s office or it may be sent to a lab for further testing. A urinalysis for the purpose of monitoring a medical condition is often performed on a regular basis.
For health reasons, a urinalysis may be done as part of a routine physical exam, as part of a pre-admission procedure prior to surgery, or to screen for underlying health issues such as kidney disease, liver disease, or diabetes. For diagnostic purposes, a urine test may be ordered to confirm a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a suspected issue with kidney functioning. Urine is approximately 95 percent water and the other 5 percent comes from what’s produced in the kidneys. Consequently, a urine test is a common method for evaluating kidney functioning.
How Do You Prepare for a Urine Test?
There is no preparation necessary for basic urine test that may be performed at a urinalysis laboratory in Los Angeles. However, a urinalysis for medical purposes may require fasting prior to providing the sample. Since medications can affect the results, patients are encouraged to disclose any medications or substances being taken on a regular basis, including:
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications
- Herbal supplements
How Are Samples Collected?
A urinalysis for medical purposes is either collected at a doctor’s office or it may be collected at home by the patient. Collection of a urine sample is done in a special container with a lid that is closed after the sample is provided. Antiseptic wipes are used to clean the urinary tract opening. Patients may be instructed to provide a sample early in the morning since this is when urine is more concentrated, which makes it easier to detect abnormalities.
In some instances, a catheter may be inserted through the opening of the urinary tract into the bladder to collect a sample. Typically, 1-2 ounces of urine is required to conduct a urinalysis. Samples that can’t be delivered to a lab for testing within an hour after collection should be refrigerated.
How Are Urine Samples Evaluated?
A urinalysis involves three types of evaluations. The first step in the process is a visual exam. A normal sample should be clear. Odor or cloudiness suggests an infection or similar issue. A dipstick test involves the use of a thin, chemical strip to check various levels, including acidity (pH), proteins, sugar, and ketones. The final step in the analysis process is a microscopic exam to look for bacteria and check for red and white blood cells. Blood in urine requires additional testing since it may be a sign of a kidney or bladder infection or a blood disorder.
Tests performed at a urinalysis laboratory in Los Angeles typically include a detailed report on what was observed and detected in the sample. From routine drug screenings to determining whether or not a certain medication is effectively managing a medical condition like a UTI, the information from these reports can be used in many ways. How a report is presented and interpreted will depend on what’s being evaluated and why the test was ordered.