Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Protein and PH signs

Last week I bought a box of test strips to test my pee. My inner hypochondriac made me do it.

I've wanted to do this for sometime but never gotten down to it. I wanted to monitor my condition re the protein in the urine and to give me an early heads-up for any signs of glucose leakage which could mean diabetes. Having a dad and a paternal uncle and aunt with diabetes, I have a strong family history of this so I thought better to catch this early instead of late. Diabetes is pretty much a silent killer and will usually be undetected at early stages. So I thought these urine test strips might help me detect any early signs of glucose leakage.

So the other day, browsing in the KKH pharmacy, I saw the stuff and decided to buy it. Not very expensive, just about $7+ a box of 30 strips. I've have been using it since.

So what have I found?

As they say in bad movies: I've got some good news and some bad news.

Well the good news is, the glucose levels are normal. So no sign of diabetes for now!

But the bad news is - the protein leaks seem to be getting worse. They are significant in quantity enough to register in a test strip, instead of the usual 'negligible' values I usually get.

In the past whenever I had these random urine test strips, the protein window would still be in the normal window - yellow. But these few days when I tested, the colour patch is no longer in the normal yellow box - it has gone up a notch to the light green box which shows a +1 increase in protein values. I know I have been leaking protein for some time, but this is usually microalbumin, which the doc was not too concerned about. With micro albumin, only a blood test would show up those leaks - it would not show in a standard urine test strip. But with this new development, I think the leaks might have increased.

On top of that, the Ph is also abnormal. Instead of a salmon pink, I now test a deep green. In normal, healthy individuals, the Ph of pee would be between 5 to 6. The higher you go, the more alkaline the pee. I am consistently testing at levels of 8 now.

Seen on its own, a high Ph might also be a sign of UTI. I have no symptoms and although UTI can be asymptomatic, I do not think it is UTI because of the corresponding increase in protein leakage.

I don't want to press the panic button and I really think it is still early days. But the high alkalinity and the increase in protein leakage does not augur well. Put together, this might indicate some form of chronic kidney disease.

There is no cure for kidney disease and once you've gotten it, it's pretty much just a matter of time before the kidneys conk. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I am not inclined to do the usual dialysis thingy etc if and when the kidneys do fail. But I believe I have time yet. I will bring these results to my usual doc when I see him next month and see what he says.

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