Urinalysis is used to screen for a variety of different diseases. Under this category, tests performed include Glucose, Protein and Microalbumin, Protein/Creatinine ratio, Red Blood Cells (R.B.C.) and White Blood Cells (W.B.C.)
An out-of-range result typically requires a physician recheck before any action should be taken or any conclusions are drawn. It is quite common for healthy individuals to have minor abnormalities in this category of tests.
The presence of Glucose (sugar) in urine is used as a screening test for diabetes. If urine glucose is positive or any results are elevated, individuals should seek advice from their physician or healthcare provider.
Protein and Microalbumin
Protein and/or Microalbumin in the urine are warning signs that may indicate kidney disease. However, it can also occur temporarily due to infection, stress, exercise, or as a result of certain medications.
If urine protein is elevated, and Protein/Creatinine ratio is within the expected range, this may indicate a concentrated urine specimen rather than kidney disease.
Red Blood Cells (R.B.C.)
R.B.C. are generally absent or present in small amounts in urine. Increased amounts are seen in kidney disease, kidney stones, urinary tract infections or inflammation. Results can also be significantly impacted by a woman’s menstrual cycle.
White Blood Cells (W.B.C.)
W.B.C. (White Blood Cells) are sometimes present in low amounts in urine. Elevated levels may indicate a urinary tract infection or inflammation.
This category of tests is used to assess how well kidneys are functioning. Under this category, tests performed include Creatinine and Urea.
Abnormal results may simply be the result of conditions at the time of the test, so no clinical conclusion should be drawn from these results. It is likely that a physician or healthcare provider will want to recheck results.
Creatinine is a waste product found in blood that is produced when our muscles metabolize energy. If kidney function is impaired, they are unable to filter creatinine out of the blood and remove it from the body through urination. As a result, levels of creatinine in the blood become elevated.
Urea is a waste product found in blood that is produced when the protein used by a body’s cells is broken down by the liver. If kidney function is impaired, they are unable to filter urea out of the blood and remove it from the body through urination. As a result, levels of urea in the blood become elevated.
Tests in this group are part of a general screening and are helpful in assessing how well the liver is working. Under this category, tests performed include Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST), Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) and Bilirubin.
If results fall significantly outside of the expected ranges, individuals should seek advice from their physician or healthcare provider. It is likely that they will want to recheck results. Liver function tests that are elevated may be due to a temporary situation such as a viral illness or due to certain medications. Mild elevations can also be found in healthy people.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
ALP is a protein that is found in all body tissues. The liver, bile ducts and bones have higher amounts. An elevated ALP result could indicate liver disease but may also be elevated in bone disorders, in young people and in pregnancy.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) & Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
ALT and AST are liver enzymes that are released into the circulation when liver cells are injured or die. Generally, the higher the number, the greater the extent of liver damage.
Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)
GGT is an enzyme found predominantly in the liver. Damaged cells release this protein into the blood making it a very sensitive indicator of liver damage. Heavy alcohol consumption, certain medications and illicit drugs, and bile tract obstruction may all lead to elevated levels.
Bilirubin is a yellow-coloured breakdown product of hemoglobin that causes jaundice when levels are high. A slightly elevated level can be a normal finding in some healthy people.
This category of tests is used to screen for a variety of different diseases or illnesses. Under this category, tests performed include measuring the levels of the proteins Albumin and Globulin in the serum, which is the fluid portion of a blood sample. In general, significant out-of-range levels of these proteins are found only when other diseases are present, and an individual would usually know of these. They can also be found in certain inherited conditions. If results fall significantly outside the expected range, physicians or healthcare providers will likely want to recheck results.
Albumin is the most prevalent serum protein. It is produced in the liver and its purpose it to prevent fluid from leaking out of blood vessels, to feed tissues and carry hormones, vitamins, drugs, and substances like calcium throughout the body. Low levels may be seen in liver disease as well as a number of other conditions such as kidney disease, inflammation and malnutrition.
Globulin is made up of four major groups of serum proteins including gamma-globulins. Alterations in serum globulin levels can have many causes and correct interpretation of an out-of-range result requires consultation with a physician and further testing.
This category of tests is used to screen for diabetes as well as monitor diabetic treatment. Under this category, tests performed include Glucose Plasma and Hemoglobin A1c. Elevated results for either of these tests may indicate issues with sugar control. Physicians or healthcare providers will likely want to recheck results.
Glucose Plasma (blood sugar, blood glucose) measures the amount of glucose present in the blood. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. Levels are usually lowest in the morning and vary throughout the day rising for one to two hours after meals. Repeatedly elevated levels (known as hyperglycemia) are associated with Diabetes Mellitus.
Hemoglobin A1c reflects average blood glucose levels over the last 2-3 months. This test has historically been used in medicine for monitoring diabetic treatment, but it is now also used for diagnosis. Since the test is not affected by fasting or recent food intake, this is the result that is largely relied upon by insurance companies for detecting diabetes.
Lipid Profile Testing
Correct interpretation of an individual’s lipid profile occurs within the context of his/her other risk factors for heart disease. Under this category, tests performed include Cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and Triglycerides. If one or more of their results fall outside the expected ranges the individual may wish to seek advice from a physician or healthcare provider. Physicians or healthcare providers will likely want to recheck results.
Cholesterol is a fat (lipid) which is produced by the liver and is crucial for normal body functioning. High levels of cholesterol in the blood have been linked to damage to arteries and cardiovascular disease. Knowing Cholesterol (or Total Cholesterol) levels is an important step in understanding risk for heart disease since higher levels are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack.
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
HDL Cholesterol is known as the 'good cholesterol' because it carries cholesterol away from the blood vessels back to the liver. Higher levels of HDL Cholesterol are, therefore, desirable as they seem to protect against heart attack.
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL
LDL Cholesterol is known as the 'bad cholesterol' because it accumulates in the walls of blood vessels leading to hardening of the arteries and increased risk of heart attack. Ideal LDL target depends on underlying risk of heart disease.
High levels of Triglycerides (another type of lipid found in blood) can also increase the risk of heart disease.
Blood Pressure Testing
Blood pressure (BP) is a measure of the force or pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of your blood vessels (arteries). There are generally two measurements recorded. The systolic pressure (the top number) is the pressure created when the heart beats and pumps blood around the rest of the body. The diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart relaxes between beats. Since blood pressure fluctuates, more than one reading may have to be taken.
Blood pressure measures how hard the heart is pumping and it is one of the principal vital signs of an individual’s health. The higher the numbers, the harder the heart is working. The diagnosis of high blood pressure (hypertension) depends on age and personal risk factors. Often, there are no obvious symptoms. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease and strokes.
High blood pressure is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure several times, over a period of time, in order to confirm that it is high. One cannot draw any clinical conclusions from a single day blood pressure check. It is generally advisable to follow-up with another blood pressure check if results are higher than 140/90. Physicians or healthcare providers will likely want to recheck results.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to high blood pressure. Some of these factors are non-modifiable such as age, gender, family history and ethnicity. Consulting a physician or healthcare provider to seek advice on how to lower blood pressure is recommended in case of any concerns.
Drugs & HIV
These tests are normally requested by insurance companies as part of a paramedical exam. Under this category, urine specimens may be screened for the presence of cotinine (a marker of nicotine use), cocaine, and in some cases, the use of diuretics. Screening for HIV-1/HIV-2 is also performed in blood, while HIV-1 is tested in urine.
The temperature of urine specimens produced by applicants is immediately taken and verified to be within the expected range by a health professsional. This validity check is done to provide confidence that that obtained specimen has not been adulterated or substituted.
HIV -1/HIV-2 Screen
A blood test is used to identify the antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 as well as the HIV-1 antigen p24. Testing for the HIV-1 p24 antigen provides an opportunity to detect the infection in its early stages, approximately 2 to 6 weeks from its on-set. At this early stage, the HIV-1 virus antibodies have not started to produce and only the p24 antigen is present. After 4 to 6 weeks of infection has passed, the HIV-1 and HIV-2 virus antibodies can now be detected in the blood making it further possible to identify HIV infection.
A urine test may also be used to identify the presence of HIV-1 antibodies.
This urine test is used to screen for the recent use of tobacco or a nicotine replacement product. Cotinine is produced when a person uses nicotine and it is metabolized by the body. It can be tested for in a urine sample or saliva sample. A high level of cotinine indicates active use of tobacco or a nicotine replacement product.
This urine test is used to screen for recent use of cocaine through the detection of its metabolite benzoylecgonine. Benzoylecgonine is produced when a person uses cocaine and it is metabolized by the body. This can be tested for in urine or a saliva sample.