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A normal urea level is an indicator that protein in the body is being metabolised properly. Too much or too little urea in the urine can signal a kidney problem that should be addressed. If your doctor suspects that you may have a kidney problem, he may order a serum urea level test that is also known as a BUN (blood urea nitrogen) test.
What is Urea?
Urea is also referred to as carbamide, and is produced by all mammals, some species of fish and amphibians. Urea is a remnant of protein breakdown which is performed by the liver. The urea is then removed from the blood by the kidneys and transported to the urine.
When discussing normal urea levels in the body, it is also important to point out the normal or average amount of urea that is usually excreted on a daily basis. According to Diavant.com healthy individuals must excrete approximately 16 gm of urea throughout the day between both urine and sweat.
Normal urea levels in healthy adults are between 10 and 20 mg/dl. AyurvedicCure.com explains that the BUN levels in pregnant women may actually decrease by as much as 25 per cent. It is also important to note that urea levels in women and children are often lower than in men because they metabolise proteins at a faster rate.
Life Options reports that urea levels in healthy children usually range between 5 and 18 mg/dl. The BUN level in children is usually lower because their bodies break down proteins faster. However, as they get older their normal BUN levels usually increase.
Transamerica Reinsurance, an AEGON Company, explains that urea levels in the elderly may be slightly higher than that of a healthy adult. This is because as people age, their renal functions tend to decrease in efficiency. Normal ranges for the elderly age group are often between 25 and 30 mg/dL.
Abnormal Urea Levels
Abnormal urea levels may be indicative of an underlying health condition. Urea levels that are higher than normal may denote a congestive heart condition, gastrointestinal disorder, urinary obstruction or renal disease. It may also mean that the patient is experiencing dehydration, starvation or shock. According to West Virginia University, lower-than-normal urea levels usually mean that the patient is overhydrated, on a low-protein diet, suffering from malnutrition or liver problems.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm