Updated on 19 October, 2021
Urinalysis is an important laboratory procedure used in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract disorders. Urinary test strips or urinary dipsticks are an essential diagnostic tool utilized to identify abnormal changes in the urine of a patient in routine clinical urinalysis. It is performed by placing the patient under observation and looking for signs that may signal unusual urinary activity. Signs to look for include blood in the urine, bright red blood in the urine, or streaks of blood in the urine. A urine test strip normally contains three tests, namely, the detection of proteins, the determination of albumin in the urine, and the determination of pH. These test strips may be placed on a label or directly in the vial for immediate results.
As clinical laboratory tests have changed greatly over the years, so has the diagnostic test strips available. Urinalysis test strips now come in various shapes and sizes for ease of use. Most strips are disposable; therefore, they are prearranged in trays, which can then be placed in the refrigerator to ensure freshness until needed. Most manufacturers recommend keeping test strips in the original packaging until you need them.
One of the main reasons for ordering urinalysis test strips is to monitor the progress of kidney function. As urine passes through the kidneys, the blood cells adhere to the surface of the fluid and accumulate in tiny clusters. As these blood cells accumulate, they create toxins in the blood cells. The aim of ongoing blood cell studies is to find ways to prevent these toxins from building up.
One of the best ways to monitor the progress of the kidney is to use a urinary flow cytometer. The urinary flow cytometer has been specifically designed to read changes in the amount and type of urine that passes through the body. It works by measuring the amount of time, in units of seconds, that urine passes through the hose.
Urinalysis test strips may also measure the amount of two chemicals, ketones and acid reducers. These two chemicals, often together, are known to affect the functioning of the kidney. Ketones are created when the body breaks down carbohydrates. The kidneys excrete ketones as urine. The acid reducers are chemicals that reduce the buildup of uric acid in the blood.
Urinalysis test strips can also measure the level of two more important laboratory tests: albumin and rbc, which are both important for preventing infection in the urinary tract. Both of these chemicals are made up of glucose molecules. Chronic infections cause the levels of both of these chemicals to drop. This drop in both chemicals causes an increase in the bacteria that live in the bladder and the urinary tract. The bacteria attach to the lining of the urinary tract and then multiply there, causing infections.
Other types of tests strip analysis measures the level of total protein, albumin, and rbc. These four elements are all involved in the immune function of the body. Total protein helps keep the body's tissues healthy. Albumin protects tissues from being damaged by infection. And rbc acts to keep the body's red blood cells from clotting, which is critical in providing the body with oxygen.
While urinalysis test strips are an important diagnostic tool, they don't tell you everything. There are other, more reliable tests for urinary tract health that you need to have done. These include a special type of cultures called culture lysates. These cultures can be used to confirm the diagnosis of urinary tract infection. They work in a similar way to urinalysis strips, but can give you the results much faster and in a more comprehensive manner. If you've been struggling with a UTI, it's time to see your doctor to get this critical check done.