Urine test can help detect severity of kidney disease

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Researcher Tanvir Chowdhury Turin, PhD, looked at protein levels in urine samples to help detect kidney disease. Photo by Lynda Sea

A research study at the University of Calgary shows that a simple urine test can be used for the early detection of progressive kidney disease.

Physicians are able to identify kidney related problems by determining the presence and amount of protein found in a sample of urine.

Tanvir Chowdhury Turin, PhD, a researcher with the university’s Department of Community Health Sciences, Institute for Public Health, and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, indicates 10 per cent of adults suffer from chronic kidney disease globally. This chronic condition leads to a high disease burden in terms of quality of life, health and cost.

“We suggest that physicians use the simple and inexpensive test to determine the presence of protein in the urine as part of their routine assessment,” says Turin, the lead author of the study. “Patients with kidney disease have a lower life expectancy. The presence of protein in the urine is one of the markers of kidney related problems. With early recognition, treatments are available for these patients that lead to improved outcomes.”

Study findings, published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, reveal that high levels of protein in the urine, observed among people with kidney disease, is associated with reduced longevity. The excess protein in urine, or proteinuria, is an indicator of damaged kidneys that struggle to retain the body’s protein.

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A published research study has found a urine test can help detect severity of kidney disease: Photo credit: pinprick / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

The study involved more than 810,000 men and women ranging from 30 to 85 years of age who underwent proteinuria testing,. Results from the study show the higher the amounts of proteinuria, the shorter the patient’s life span.

“There is a striking reduction in life expectancy associated with the severity of proteinuria,” says Turin. “These findings highlight the need to communicate the importance of protein testing in urine to identify the high risk patients.”

Dr. Tanvir Chowdhury Turin is supported by the Roy and Vi Baay Chair in Kidney Research.

Story by Karen Brookins 

Related media coverage

“Proteinuria Linked to Life Expectancy” MedPage Today

“How your Pee Predicts the Future” Men’s Health News

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