When we go for our annual or bi-annual physical check up with our doctors we know that at some point during the visit, we are going to be asked to pee in a cup. The most common reasons that we are asked to pee in a cup, as women, are so that our sugar levels can be checked and also when we are wondering if we have “a bun in the oven”. Now, it seems that the contents of the cup that we bring back to the nurse at the doctor’s office may be able to tell us even more-how long we can expect to live.
A trip to the restroom can reveal a lot about your overall health, including how long you’ll live, according to a recent study published in the National Kidney Foundation’s American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
As lead author of the report, Dr. Tanvir Chowdhury Turin of the University of Calgary, explains, calculating the levels of protein in urine can predict a person’s lifespan.
In the study — which involved analyzing over 810,000 men and women 30 to 85 years of age who underwent testing for proteinuria, or excess protein in urine — researchers found that the higher the amounts of proteinuria each patient had, the shorter their life span. In fact, men without proteinuria outlived those with it by 8.2 years, while women without it outlived those with proteinuria by 10.5 years.
According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, most proteins are too big to pass through the kidneys’ filters into the urine. But proteins from the blood can leak into the urine when the filters of the kidney are damaged. The result: Proteinuria. Healthy people, on the other hand, have very low levels of protein in their urine as their kidneys are able to retain most of it for the body.
“There is a striking reduction in life expectancy associated with the severity of proteinuria,” Turin said in a release. “We already know that severity of chronic kidney disease is associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes including mortality risk, but the effect of proteinuria on life expectancy has not been estimated before.”