Urine tests are administered to people with diabetes to check for severe hyperglycemia and kidney disease. Different urine tests reveal important facts about your current diabetes health. Early diagnosis through urine testing can help ward off serious health problems.
- A microalbuminuria test is done to check for small amounts of albumin in your urine. Albumin is the main protein in your blood and urine. A slow leakage of this protein into the urine indicates kidney damage or failure. People with type 2 diabetes get this test done annually. Kidney problems develop for 20% to 40% of all people with diabetes. Medications, blood sugar control and reducing blood pressure can slow down the development and progression of kidney problems. Certain blood pressure medications called ARBs and ACE inhibitors can help the kidneys be preserved.
- If a microalbumin test is positive, it shows the blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged. This type of blood vessel problem can also increase your risk of developing heart problems, eye problems called retinopathy and nerve problems called neuropathy. At this point, your doctor might start multiple medications to slow down the kidney damage. Another type of urine test is collected for 24 hours and helps to discover the extent of damage to your kidneys. Your health care provider might start more aggressive diabetes treatment as well. Your doctor will take steps to aggressively control your blood pressure and cholesterol through diet, exercise and/or medication.
- A hyperglycemia urine test is done if your blood sugar soars to a dangerously high level or during sick days. This test shows whether you are producing ketones. In the absence of insulin, ketones are the by-product of the fat burning process. A lack of insulin or inability to use insulin properly causes the body to depend on fat stores to make energy for your cells. Typically glucose is the major source of energy for cells. Large amounts of ketones can be toxic and lead to ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition. Hospitalization is required for ketoacidosis.
- Ketone tests can be done at home with an over-the-counter kit. You dip ketone strips into your urine to see if they change color. A color chart is provided to determine whether your body is producing ketones. Your doctor may advise rapid acting insulin or drinking plenty of fluids to reduce ketones in your urine.
- Patients are advised to test for ketones if they have certain symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing and/or high blood sugar over 300 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL, or as directed by your physician. Positive results should be reported to your doctor immediately to get detailed instructions. Your doctor may recommend drinking plenty of fluids, checking your blood sugar or going to the emergency room for insulin therapy and intravenous fluid. Keep detailed results of the urine tests you perform to bring to every visit to your health care provider.
- Proper diabetes self-management helps reduce the occurrence of albumin and ketones in your urine. A healthy diet, regular exercise and taking medications as directed make a big difference. Schedule checkups with your health care provider at least twice a year and go for recommended testing. Test your blood sugar and ketones at home regularly. Report problems to your doctor immediately.
Urine tests reveal important facts about your diabetes health. Some tests can be done at home and others require an appointment with your health care provider. Maintain accurate records of urine test results to improve your diabetes self-management plan.