Urinary tract infections and urinary calculi represent two of the most common causes of blood in the urine, medically known as hematuria. Gross hematuria, meaning the urine appears red and bloody, is distinguished from microscopic hematuria, meaning there is no visible discoloration. In the U.S., alcoholic fatty liver and chronic hepatitis C rank at the top of the list of reasons for mild to moderate elevation of liver enzymes, notes Hepatitis-Central.com.
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Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections occur in both men and women, but women get them more frequently. The source of the infection is often bacteria that enter via the urethra and incubate inside the bladder. Common symptoms may include painful urination and the feeling of always having to urinate, although in some cases microscopic hematuria is the only indication that something is wrong. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections, and the time required for therapy depends on the seriousness of the infection.
Urinary calculi refers to any solid particles that form in the urinary tract. These particles most often consist of calcium oxalate stones. If the stones are larger than 5 mm and travel into the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, they may get stuck and cause a blockage. This situation usually leads to symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, severe pain and gross hematuria. A frequent cause of urinary calculi is a condition called hypercalciuria, meaning that the patient excretes abnormally high concentrations of calcium in the urine.
Alcoholic Fatty Liver
Alcoholic fatty liver represents the first stage of alcoholic liver disease. All heavy drinkers exhibit fatty liver. In addition, about 40 percent of moderate drinkers, those who consume about 10 g of alcohol per day, show signs of fatty liver, according to the Cleveland Clinic. When this data is coupled to the results of a recent Gallup poll showing that 67 percent of the adults in the U.S. drink alcohol, it becomes clear that alcoholic fatty liver is a widespread problem. In most cases, the patient's doctor diagnoses alcoholic fatty liver while investigating the cause of elevated liver enzymes in a patient who has a history of habitual use of alcohol.
Chronic hepatitis C can elevate the liver enzymes alanine and aspartate aminotransferase anywhere from 1 to 20 times above their upper normal limits. In the U.S., the hepatitis C virus affects about 4.1 million people, making it one of the most common causes of elevated liver enzymes. A significant portion of all cases of chronic liver disease can be traced to hepatitis C. Many patients with chronic hepatitis C exhibit no symptoms, even though liver function tests reveal mild to moderate elevations in liver enzymes. Doctors may need the results of a liver biopsy in order to determine the severity of the disease and the extent of permanent liver damage.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library: Isolated Hematuria
- MayoClinic.com: Blood in Urine: Causes: Treatment and Drugs
- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library: Urinary Calculi
- Hepatitis Central: Liver Blood Enzymes
- Cleveland Clinic: Center for Continuing Education: Alcoholic Liver Disease
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Chronic Hepatitis C: Current Disease Management
- Gallup: U.S. Drinking Rate Edges Up Slightly to 25-Year High