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When Do I Need Blood Work vs. a Urine Test?

Lab testing plays a critical role in helping people stay healthy at every stage of life. In fact, there are literally hundreds of lab tests that can be used to diagnose illnesses, manage care, and provide your health care team with a detailed understanding of your personal health profile.

Most of those tests use samples of your bodily fluids, including your blood and your urine. Understanding some of the most common uses of these lab tests can help you play a more educated, informed, and proactive role in your wellness plan.

As a leading primary care practice in Greensboro, North Carolina, Triad Primary Care offers on-site urinalysis and blood testing to make it easy and convenient for patients to get the care they need. In this post, our team reviews a few of the ways these two important tests help you stay healthy.

Urine tests: The basics

A urine test is performed in our office using a special container to collect a sample of your urine. With no needles involved, urine tests certainly seem preferable to blood tests. 

But while urine tests definitely play an important role in managing your health, they’re not intended to replace blood tests. 

Drug and toxicology screening

Many people have urine tests as part of pre-employment physical exams. That’s because urine testing is highly effective for identifying potential drug use and abuse. Urine testing can also be used when toxic exposures are suspected at a workplace or elsewhere.

Kidney health

Your urine provides a clear reflection of how well your kidneys are working. Elevated levels of proteins and the presence of blood or other substances are key signs of kidney issues, and all can be detected with a urine test.

Diagnosing infections

Urine tests can also help diagnose sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections. By culturing (growing in a lab) your urine sample, we can determine the pathogen causing your infection for more targeted, effective treatment.

Diabetes monitoring

In addition to monitoring kidney issues, urine tests can be used to manage diabetes. We can measure levels of glucose and other substances that help us adjust your diabetes management plan to keep you healthy. 

Reasons for blood tests

Blood testing is far more comprehensive than urine testing, which is why it’s typically used as part of regular annual exams. 

Monitor cholesterol and glucose

Blood tests are very effective in measuring levels of cholesterol and glucose (blood sugar), two markers associated with increased risks of diseases like heart disease and diabetes. 

Regular blood tests provide us with an ongoing record of these important measurements so we can spot subtle changes as early as possible. Testing also enables us to adjust treatments for high cholesterol and diabetes for more effective disease management.

Assess organ function

Blood tests also detect proteins and chemicals associated with specific types of organ dysfunction. For instance, a blood test can look for enzymes or other biomarkers associated with kidney or liver dysfunction.

Check for nutritional deficiencies

Your body depends on an ongoing supply of nutrients to stay healthy and functioning. Even a “mild” deficiency can have major ramifications for your long-term health. Blood tests help identify nutritional deficiencies so they can be managed with supplements or other therapies.

Look for chronic and acute diseases

Some diseases involve changes that can be detected in your blood. Anemia, for example, is associated with low levels of red blood cells, while infections can cause white blood cell counts to be elevated.

The convenience of on-site lab testing

Both urine tests and blood tests perform crucial roles in health management, providing our team with critical information that can help guide treatment and keep you healthy. To learn more about the lab tests we offer or to schedule a test, call 336-286-5505 or book an appointment online with Triad Primary Care today.

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