Urea is a waste product formed in the liver when proteins are broken down as a natural process.
The liver releases it into the blood and carries it to the kidneys. Here, the kidneys filter it from the blood and release it into the urine. This process is continuous, so there is usually a small but stable amount of urea in the blood .
Diseases or conditions that affect the kidneys or liver, therefore, have the potential to affect the amount of urea present in the blood.
The kidneys have a great capacity to filter waste from our body. If one of your kidneys is fully functional, your urea levels may be completely normal if there is significant dysfunction in the other kidney.
Why test for urea?
Urea is one of the tests that are measured to evaluate the health of the kidneys as part of a routine health check. It is also measured to help diagnose kidney disease if you have symptoms or are at high risk of developing kidney disease.
It is measured at regular intervals in people with known kidney disease to monitor the effectiveness of dialysis and other treatments.
Causes of low urea levels
Low urea levels are generally not a cause for concern.
The most common cause is overhydration, having too much fluid in the body.
Another possible cause could be malnutrition or a diet with too little protein.
In rare cases, urea levels may be low as a result of decreased urea production by the liver. However, this only occurs when there is significant liver disease or damage.
The urea test is not generally used to diagnose or monitor any of these conditions.
Symptoms of low uremia
Low urea does not present any symptoms as such. The symptoms that occur in relation to low urea are the symptoms of the underlying disease that causes the decrease in urea level.
How to treat low blood urea levels?
As long as liver malfunction is not the cause of low urea levels, it is recommended to increase animal proteins in the diet.
Similarly, it is important to consume less water, until urea levels normalize.
Why is there a low level of urea in the blood during pregnancy?
Urea is a by-product of the normal conversion of amino acids to carbohydrates through deamination.
The amino group is eliminated as urea in the urine. Urea is secreted and reabsorbed, but low urea levels indicate good kidney function and low levels of amino acid conversion.
In pregnancy, this would indicate that amino acids go to the fetus rather than the mother.