What is urea?

Urea is produced in the liver from the breakdown of amino acids found in proteins. Urea is released into the bloodstream. It is then transported to the kidneys and excreted in your urine. Healthy kidneys remove more than 90% of the urea the body produces, so a blood test can show how well your kidneys are working.

Most kidney and liver diseases can affect blood levels of urea. If the liver produces more urea than normal, or the kidneys excrete less, blood urea levels will rise. If liver damage/disease reduces urea production, levels may fall.

Why test urea?

Health Check
Discover your risk factors for lifestyle diseases in time to do something about them.

To monitor or retest your urea levels if a previous test was out of range.

If you have any symptoms related to the liver or kidneys.

What causes low urea?

Low urea levels are uncommon and are not usually concerning. Sometimes liver diseases and malnutrition can cause low urea levels. Low urea levels can also be normal in pregnancy.

What causes high urea levels?

High urea levels indicate poor kidney function. Acute or chronic kidney disease can cause high urea levels. Other things that increase urea levels include decreased blood flow to the kidneys caused by congestive heart failure, stress, shock, recent heart attack or burns, intestinal bleeding, and dehydration.

More information
Age, high or low protein intake, and medications can affect urea levels. Your doctor may monitor your urea and creatinine levels if you take certain medicines.


On the day of the test
Remember to take ID with you when going to take a test. 

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