Urine tests are often given to people with diabetes to check for diabetes-related kidney disease and severe hypoglycemia.
Problems with kidneys in people with diabetes occur in about 20%-40% of them, but the development and progression can be prevented with early and intensive control of blood sugars, blood pressure, and the use of certain medications.
Microalbuminuria can occur when the main protein in blood albumin leak into urine so the kidneys can be damaged. Urine tests for microalbuminuria should be performed every year after the patient is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In patients with type 1 diabetes, the test is usually performed five years after diagnosis.
Positive tests indicate that the blood vessels to kidneys are damaged and the risk of heart problems is also increased.
For treatment, a doctor can:
- Prescribe to a patient medication which can prevent further damage to blood vessels and kidneys.
- Offer more aggressive diabetes treatment, better blood pressure control and cholesterol control.
Doctor can perform a urine test to determine is patient’s blood sugar is dangerously high and if the patient is producing ketones – the by-product of the fat burning process that occurs in the absence of insulin.
Ketones can be a source of energy for many cells but in large amounts, where the patient with type 1 diabetes is not having enough insulin around or in patients with type 2 diabetes when body is unable to utilize the insulin properly and the body turns to fat stores, it can be toxic and cause a life-threatening emergency condition called ketoacidosis.
Ketone levels can be measured in the urine in the doctor’s office or by using an over-the-counter kit at home with a test strip dipped into the urine.
- Patients with type 1 diabetes can do the test when blood sugar level is high, when they are feeling sick and have nausea or vomiting and when they are pregnant.
- Patients with type 2 diabetes have a very low chance of developing ketoacidosis but they can do the test if they feel severely sick, having nausea or vomiting when blood sugar is high and continues to rise throughout the day.
Patient must keep detailed records of tests that he/she has performed and report positive results to the doctor immediately and after contacting him/her, drink plenty of water and fluids to try to decrease the amounts of ketones and maintain hydration, continue to check blood sugars intermittently and if they were instructed by a doctor, go to the local emergency room to receive intravenous fluid and insulin therapy.