Diabetes is on the rise in America and one of the best ways to determine if a person is battling this condition is through a urine test. The urine screening is done to measure the amount of ketones in the urine to measure the level of blood sugar, however it should only be used for screening purposes.

What Does the Urine tell Doctors?

Since urine testing is not as reliable as blood screens, it is important to know what the urine will tell doctors. As mentioned above, the urine screening laboratory will look for the presence of ketones in the urine to evaluate the level of hyperglycemia the patient is suffering from. This will let the physician know if the patient should have a blood draw performed. In addition, the screening can look for protein, which could signify complications with the kidneys.

Type of Urine Tests

A urine screening laboratory can run two types of urine tests, the ketone test and micro albumin test. The ketone test will look for the presence of ketones in the urine. Ketones are byproducts that are present when the blood sugar levels are elevated. They are formed from fat when there is not enough insulin to burn the glucose. If the ketone levels become too high, ketoacidosis can occur. Urine screens will test using a test strip dipped in the urine and read the levels based on the color change.

With the micro albumin test, the urine screening laboratory will look for the presence of the protein, micro albumin. If this test is positive, then it often means there has been damage to the patients’ kidneys. This is often a complication of untreated or mismanaged diabetes. It is a test that should be run periodically on diabetic patients to make sure they do not suffer any kidney damage due to the condition.

When to Run the Screens

Physicians will have urine screens run regularly for patients who have Type 1 Diabetes. However, it can be run more often if they are suffering an illness (to ensure ketoacidosis is not occurring) or if the patient is pregnant. People with Type 2 Diabetes will rarely need the ketone testing; however, they should have the micro albumin test run annually. Type 2 Diabetes is more likely to cause unknown damage to the kidneys than Type 1.

If you suspect you are suffering from diabetes, your physician will likely want to do a urine screen prior to the blood draw due to the price involved and response time. It is possible to see the results faster with a urine screen, especially for ketones, because it is a dip test. This allows the physician to quickly determine if a more in-depth test is required and start you on the proper path to management.

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