How to Diagnose Silent Kidney Stones – How to Diagnose
Kidney stones have become a common kidney disorder for those individuals who are in their midlife. While a family history or metabolic disorder may be the cause for this condition in some, most often than not, it is linked to bad dietary habits and lifestyle factors.
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Normally a kidney stone makes its presence known by producing severe abdominal, flank, or back pain. However, this does not happen always. Often times, an individual will be unaware of the fact that he or she has been developing kidney stones, since they move out of the system on their own efforts, without bringing about any symptoms. Many a times, its presence is recognized when the individual subjects themselves to routine health checkups, or is being tested to diagnose other disease conditions.
Once the stone has been detected in the urinary tract, it is important to know the type of stone formed so as to prevent its growth and future occurrences. Ways to eliminate them out in an easy manner can also be arrived at once the stone type has been identified.
A physical examination may be warranted to identify any other disorders occurring in the urinary tract that may be contributing to the formation of kidney stones, for eg., a distended bladder from urinary retention due to a blockade, etc.
Evaluation of blood and urine chemistry is the next step done. There is a guaranteed progression in the growth of a kidney stone, and finding the exact reason for the condition to come into existence in the first place is of great importance. About an ounce or two of urine sample is obtained of the patient, preferably the initial urine voided after waking up in the morning. This is then subjected to visual, chemical, and microscopic evaluation. On visual examination, the color and odor of urine will be noted down. A strong smell of ammonia emitting from the solution may indicate the presence of an infection in the urinary tract. Dark yellowish hue of urine may be a result of the use of certain medicines, or due to poor urine volume. Decreased urine production usually increases urine acidity which encourages uric acid stones, and an infection in the tract can lead to the development of infection stones.
On chemical and microscopic examination, the presence of cells, byproducts of metabolism, bacterial cells, crystals, or mucus present in urine will be detected. Abnormal readings of mineral matters, bacteria, which are unusually high, are considered to be the elements that go into the making of a kidney stone. On chemical analysis, the pH levels can be determined; whether it is inclined towards acidic or is it alkaline. Urine concentration levels are also measured.
Blood samples are collected to detect for any blood chemical abnormalities.
Diagnostic imaging tests also play a vital role in proper management of kidney stones. The techniques available are x-ray imaging of the kidneys, ureters and bladder; intravenous urography, which involves injection of contrast material; non-enhanced spiral computed tomography of the urinary tract that combines x-ray imaging and recreation of these images employing computer technology; and sonography that uses sound waves to create images of the internal system, which is considered to be the safest technique to be used on young children and pregnant women. However, each technique has their own limitations and performing more than one diagnostic test will be required often.