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KIDNEYS >> Urine Tests for Kidney Function
Urine Protein Determination
This test provides the actual number of milligrams or grams of protein in a sample. The test result is reported as a ratio of protein to creatinine. A urine protein/creatinine ratio greater than 100 mg protein per gram of creatinine is abnormal. A ratio greater than 3000 usually indicates serious damage to the glomerular filters of the kidneys.

Urine Microalbumin Determination
If only a very tiny amount of protein is present in the urine, it may not be detectable by standard tests (such as urine protein determination). In these cases, a “spot urine microalbumin/creatinine ratio” may be ordered. A ratio of greater than 30 micrograms of albumin per gram of creatinine indicates that a tiny amount of protein (albumin) is present. This can be the very earliest sign of kidney disease, particularly in diabetics.

Urine Dipstick
A small flat plastic stick containing a row of several chemically-treated paper squares is dipped into a urine sample (see photo). The squares then turn different colors. By comparing the stick with a color chart, one can tell whether or not the urine contains various substances, such as protein, blood, glucose (or sugar, suggesting diabetes), and white blood cells (suggesting infection).

Urine Sediment Examination
Urine is poured into a test tube and spun in a centrifuge, and the sediment that goes to the bottom can then be examined under a microscope. The findings in the urine sediment can be very helpful in diagnosing kidney disease, and have even been referred to as the "poor man’s kidney biopsy". Useful findings in the urine sediment may include: white blood cells (suggesting infection), red blood cells, bacteria, yeast, crystals (especially useful in people with kidney stones), and renal tubular cells (indicating damage to various parts of the kidney).

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