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3 comments   Listen   Print   article:316677:12::0
In the Media

article imageUsing Urine to Diagnose Disease

By Walt Crocker
Dec 24, 2011 in Health
Back before blood tests, MRI's, and x-rays, doctors examined different parts of the body by sight. They could look at tongue, urine, eyes, and feces and diagnose what was wrong with you.
In a spoof movie from the 1980's, "Young Doctors in Love," Harry Dean Stanton played a drunken medical school professor who told his class that he could diagnose diabetes by tasting the patient's urine. He then proceeds by sticking his finger into a sample and then putting his finger into his mouth. After the class reacts with disgust, he tells them that he licked a different finger than the one he put into the urine. Then one of the students tells him he had licked the wrong finger, the one that was actually soaked with urine.
Throughout history, doctors have used bodily fluids to diagnose disease. Back in the Middle Ages, we thought that the body was composed of four "Bodily Humors." These were yellow bile, black bile, red bile, and phlegm. If all of these biles were in good balance, then the body was healthy. But if there was a shortage or an excess of one or more of them, then the body was diseased.
There are still times in modern medicine where gross examination of certain parts of the body can be used to determine the suspected presence of disease. Some of the most important are: the retina, the tongue, the lymph nodes, the urine, and the blood. Testing the blood usually requires processing it in the lab.
Most of the time we just give urine a passing glance as we flush the toilet.. But urine, just like it was in the past, can still be an important indicator of our health or the lack of it.
Most everybody is aware that one of the earlier ways to tell if a person has diabetes is the presence of sugar in the urine. And yes, they did taste it. But urine can also help carry excess protein, bacteria,, and other toxins out of the body. If you notice that your urine has a strong odor or has changed color, it might just mean that it was some thing that you had for dinner, or it could mean something as serious as cancer.
What gives urine its color is a pigment called urochrome. . Dark urine usually means that you didn't drink enough fluid, light colored urine means that you drank too much. . A red tinge means blood, but don't panic quite yet, it doesn't take much to turn the bowl red. But go see the doctor anyway.
It's a good idea to drink fluids only when you're thirsty. And never "hold it in" to much. Doing so can cause problems. Remember, the average adult urinates about 6-8 times per day and rarely at night.
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article:316677:12::0
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