Blood urea levels can rise from excess protein in the diet and liver or kidney disease, Know its causes and symptoms and how to normalize its figures to prevent its complications.
Urea is a substance in the body during the liver’s protein and nitrogen compounds and generally excrete through urine and sweat. In case it is not eliminated correctly, the levels of urea in the blood rise above average (uremia), which causes health problems that significantly affect the liver. The organ responsible for processing proteins – and the kidneys (which must filter the final waste product), and that without treatment can become serious and even cause the patient’s death.
Complications associated with urea’s high levels include renal insufficiency, liver failure, heart failure, or neurological disorders.
Specific symptoms can warn that this waste product from the liver is not being eliminated correctly, for example:
- Dehydration: the feeling of thirst does not pass even if you drink liquids and have a dry mouth. These signs, along with loss of appetite, can indicate uremia and other diseases, so you should immediately consult your doctor if you experience them.
- Fatigue and weakness: Excessive tiredness for no known reason could also be due to elevated urea levels.
- Halitosis: bad breath (smell of ammonia) and a bad taste in the mouth, sometimes accompanied by small ulcers in the oral cavity.
- Hypotension: Although it is healthy if your blood pressure is not high, it is too low to indicate health problems such as uremia.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: such as vomiting or diarrhea.
- Kidney problems: pain in the lower back can warn that the kidneys are damaged since if the levels of urea remain high in the blood, they can lead to kidney failure.
Normal urea levels and why they increase
Urea levels are determined by a blood test and depend on sex and age – they are lower in children. In women, for example, pregnancy and menopause influence -, or the method used by each laboratory, and must be evaluated by the specialist, who will take into account the clinical history and characteristics of each patient.
The usual thing is that they are below 40 mg/dl, and urea is considered to be high from 50 mg/dl; in women, they usually range between 6 and 20 mg/dl, in men between 8 and 22 mg/dl, and children between 5 and 18 mg/dl. In any case, a reference value always appears in the blood test results with which the results obtained can be compared, which may differ between different laboratories, and which must always be interpreted by a doctor, who will evaluate the different parameters.
Most diseases that affect the liver or kidneys – hypertension, gout, kidney failure, or cirrhosis – can increase urea in the blood. The measurement of urea and creatinine is used to know the state of kidney function and check if the kidneys adequately filter waste products from the blood.
Other possible causes of uremia are:
- Excess protein in the diet.
- Poor hydration.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Carry out intense physical exercise continuously.
- Having diseases such as diabetes, liver failure, or heart failure.
Tips for maintaining adequate urea levels
To eliminate excess urea in the blood, it is essential to determine its causes since, if it has occurred due to a disease, its treatment will correct the problem and prevent the patient from suffering other complications.
However, the doctor may also recommend other measures such as reducing the protein intake in the diet, limiting the consumption of certain foods such as red meat, eggs, dairy products, and any dietary supplement containing these types of nutrients as decreased salt intake.
Also, it is essential to stay hydrated, drinking enough fluids according to individual needs and the type of activity that is developed.