Lupus is a prominent name among the myriad chronic inflammatory conditions where the body’s immune system begins attacking its own tissues. This autoimmune condition can impact virtually any organ of the body. It is incurable, the clinical presentation is widely variable with sometimes debilitating flares and the complications, potentially fatal in some cases when left untreated. Among other organs, Kidneys are a prime target here. So, as a portal dedicated to nephrology, let us walk you through the what-why-how of this challenging autoimmune disorder with specific focus on Lupus Nephritis – its kidney chapter. It is Lupus Awareness Month (May) after all!
Normally, Urine produced by healthy kidneys is a cocktail of toxic waste products of cellular metabolism, a host of minerals, salts, smelly organic compounds & excess water. (Find the complete normal urine composition here). These components begin to get together to form Urine once healthy kidney micro-filters “strain” our blood through themselves. These micro-filters are uber-selective with what they “let-out” into the urine. This is such that, all blood cells & “plasma” proteins remain in the bloodstream while the wastes & excesses purge themselves out.
But what makes these Kidney Micro-filters that selective against leakage of blood cells & protein in urine?
Haematuria (Red blood cells in urine) is not a disease in itself. It is a “sign” that points to an abnormality within your body.
The treatment approach towards haematuria would require a confirmed diagnosis of the underlying cause and adopting relevant medical and/or corrective surgical approaches. Whether it can be resolved completely or not would entirely depend on its root cause.
Presenting here, the general pointers that guide your treatment plan for patients with Haematuria.
Haematuria (blood in urine) is a common reason for “Red Urine” in patients with Kidney and Urinary tract diseases.
If you consult your doctor for reddish discoloration of your urine, your doctor will first:
Based on the clinical examination, you will be advised necessary laboratory-based tests to confirm the presence of blood in your urine.
These tests would also allow your doctor to get an approximate idea of where the blood could have been coming from, into your urine.
WHAT IS HAEMATURIA?
Haematuria is the technical term for the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in urine. This could range from minute quantities such that it is invisible to the naked eye (occult or hidden bleeding), to frank hematuria such that the urine assumes a reddish tinge to a cola-coloured appearance.
Red blood cells abundantly present in our bloodstream happen to carry a pigment called “Haemoglobin” within them. This is what gives our blood, a red colour and lends that reddish tinge to most urine samples that have blood in it.
Please note: For Haematuria, the urine sample must contain whole red blood cells and not just the red pigment of blood.
“Urine Colour. Just how significant is it?!”
Human Urine – the biochemical masterpiece “manufactured” by our Kidneys as a by-product of all the work that they do – is normally a clear, pale / straw yellow to dark (but transparent) yellow in colour. This is attributed to the pigment Urochrome normally found in urine.
In good health, how yellow your urine appears directly relates to your water/liquid intake. The more dehydrated you are, the denser & more concentrated your urine is, and the darker is the yellow colour as depicted in the image below.
Samples in the image above aptly show the normal variation in Urine Colour in good health. For all practical diagnostic purposes, this urine colour range qualifies as normal. Now, Urine is not a topic that would usually make the cut in any polite conversation in non-specialist social gatherings.
But did you know?
Something as humble and underappreciated as your Urine Colour is a reliable clinical criterion used by physicians to substantiate their clinical opinion on your health status. Continue reading “Urine Colour: Variations in Kidney & Urinary Tract Disease”
The Chemical Examination segment of Urinalysis analyzes components that require Reagent Strips.
These strips are basically plastic dip-sticks laced with “indicator” chemicals that correspond to a colour change as per a reference range based on the extent of the presence of the specific substance.