Kidney Stone Analysis: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a kidney stone analysis?

Kidney stones are small, pebble-like substances made from chemicals in your urine. They are formed in the kidneys when high levels of certain substances, such as minerals or salts, get into the urine. A kidney stone analysis is a test that figures out what a kidney stone is made of. There are four main types of kidney stones:

  • Calcium, the most common type of kidney stone
  • Uric acid, another common type of kidney stone
  • Struvite, a less common stone that is caused by urinary tract infections
  • Cystine, a rare type of stone that tends to run in families

Kidney stones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Many stones pass through your body when you urinate. Larger or odd-shaped stones can get stuck inside the urinary tract and may need treatment. While kidney stones rarely cause serious damage, they can be very painful.

If you’ve had a kidney stone in the past, you are likely to get another one. A kidney stone analysis provides information on what a stone is made of. This can help your health care provider develop a treatment plan to reduce your risk of forming more stones.

Other names: urinary stone analysis, renal calculus analysis

What is it used for?

A kidney stone analysis is used to:

  • Figure out the chemical makeup of a kidney stone
  • Help guide a treatment plan to prevent more stones from forming

Why do I need a kidney stone analysis?

You may need a kidney stone analysis if you have symptoms of a kidney stone. These include:

If you’ve already passed a kidney stone and you kept it, your health care provider may ask you to bring it in for testing. He or she will give you instructions on how to clean and package the stone.

What happens during a kidney stone analysis?

You will get a kidney stone strainer from your health care provider or from a drug store. A kidney stone strainer is a device made of fine mesh or gauze. It is used to filter your urine. You will also get or be asked to provide a clean container to hold your stone. To collect your stone for testing, do the following:

  • Filter all your urine through the strainer.
  • After each time you urinate, check the strainer carefully for particles. Remember that a kidney stone can be very small. It may look like a grain of sand or a tiny piece of gravel.
  • If you find a stone, put it in the clean container, and let it dry.
  • DO NOT add any fluid, including urine, to the container.
  • DO NOT add tape or tissue to the stone.
  • Return the container to your health care provider or laboratory as instructed.

If your kidney stone is too large to pass, you may need a minor surgical procedure to remove the stone for testing.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for a kidney stone analysis.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is no known risk to having a kidney stone analysis.

What do the results mean?

Your results will show what your kidney stone is made of. Once your health care provider has these results, he or she can recommend steps and/or medicines that may prevent you from forming more stones. The recommendations will depend on the chemical makeup of your stone.

If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a kidney stone analysis?

It’s important to filter all your urine through the kidney stone strainer until you find your kidney stone. The stone may pass at any time, day or night.

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Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test?

A hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test measures the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. An HbA1c test shows what the average amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin has been over the past three months. It’s a three-month average because that’s typically how long a red blood cell lives.

If your HbA1c levels are high, it may be a sign of diabetes, a chronic condition that can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.

Other names: HbA1c, A1c, glycohemoglobin, glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin

What is it used for?

An HbA1c test may be used to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults. Prediabetes means your blood sugar levels show you are at risk for getting diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, an HbA1c test can help monitor your condition and glucose levels.

Why do I need an HbA1c test?

You may need an HbA1c test if you have symptoms of diabetes. These include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue

Your health care provider may also order an HbA1c test if you are at higher risk for getting diabetes. Risk factors include:

What happens during an HbA1c test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an HbA1c test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

HbA1c results are given in percentages. Typical results are below.

  • Normal: HbA1c below 5.7%
  • Prediabetes: HbA1c between 5.7% and 6.4
  • Diabetes: HbA1c of 6.5% or higher

Your results may mean something different. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends keeping your HbA1c levels below 7%. Your health care provider may have other recommendations for you, depending on your overall health, age, weight, and other factors.

Is there anything else I need to know about an HbA1c test?

The HbA1c test is not used for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that only affects pregnant women, or for diagnosing diabetes in children.

Also, if you have anemia or another type of blood disorder, an HbA1c test may be less accurate for diagnosing diabetes. If you have one of these disorders and are at risk for diabetes, your health care provider may recommend different tests.

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Rheumatoid Factor (RF) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a rheumatoid factor (RF) test?

A rheumatoid factor (RF) test measures the amount of rheumatoid factor (RF) in your blood. Rheumatoid factors are proteins produced by the immune system. Normally, the immune system attacks disease-causing substances like viruses and bacteria. Rheumatoid factors attack healthy joints, glands, or other normal cells by mistake.

An RF test is most often used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. Rheumatoid factors may also be a sign of other autoimmune disorders, such as juvenile arthritis, certain infections, and some types of cancer.

Other names: RF Blood Test

What is it used for?

An RF test is used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders.

Why do I need an RF test?

You may need an RF test if you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Joint swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

What happens during an RF test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an RF test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

If rheumatoid factor is found in your blood, it may indicate:

About 20 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis have little or no rheumatoid factor in their blood. So even if your results were normal, your health care provider may order more tests to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

If your results were not normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. Some healthy people have rheumatoid factor in their blood, but it’s not clear why.

Is there anything else I need to know about an RF test?

An RF test is not used to diagnose osteoarthritis. Although rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis both affect the joints, they are very different diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects people at any age, but usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60. It affects more women than men. Symptoms may come and go and vary in severity. Osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease. It is caused by the wear and tear of joints over time and usually affects adults over the age of 65.

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