The 24 Hours Urine Copper Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric Test is used to measure the copper levels released per 24 hours in the urine from a 24-hour urine sample. This test helps to know whether you have normal or abnormal copper levels in the blood. This test uses an atomic absorption spectrophotometric technique for the determination of copper in urine.
Copper is a mineral which is naturally present in many food items such as nuts, chocolate, mushrooms, shellfish, whole grains, dried fruits, and liver. In the body, copper gets converted to a non-toxic form by the help of a protein and transports it to the liver. The liver stores some of the copper and rest is bound to the enzyme ceruloplasmin and other proteins such as albumin. The liver eliminates the excess copper into the bile and it is removed from the body in the stool and urine. The body needs copper for the regulation of iron breakdown, energy, melanin (a pigment that produces skin tone) production and a healthy nervous system.
Excess storage of copper in the liver, brain and other organs may lead to a rare inherited condition called Wilson disease. Copper toxicity may lead to liver damage, brain disease, heart failure, kidney failure, and even death. Deficiency of copper is seen in individuals with poor nutrition (malnutrition), or lack of proper absorption of copper due to Chrons disease or celiac disease (diseased conditions of intestine). Decreased copper levels in the brain and liver may lead to a rare X-linked genetic condition called Menkes kinky hair syndrome.
This test is performed to know whether an individual is having normal or abnormal copper levels in the urine. Your doctor may ask to perform this test if you experience any signs and symptoms of low levels of copper such as paleness, anemia, always feeling cold, poor growth, skin sores, low white blood cells, hair with less pigment than normal etc. This test is also recommended to you by your doctor if he suspects high levels of copper in the body with symptoms such as belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea etc.
Your doctor may also advise you to perform this test to monitor and diagnose Wilson disease. Symptoms of Wilson disease are anemia, low white blood count, brown rings around the cornea, fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, behavioral changes etc. This test is also performed in individuals receiving treatment for a copper-related condition to monitor the treatment response. However, your doctor may ask to perform a few more additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
If you have a family history of Wilson disease or any copper-related condition, your doctor may ask you to perform this test on a 6-monthly basis or a yearly basis. Patients with Wilson disease or any other copper-related condition should perform this test on a regular basis, as instructed by the doctor.
Based on the test results, your doctor may advise appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your 24 Hours Urine Copper Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric 24 Hour Urine. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for 24 Hours Urine Copper Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric 24 Hour Urine.
Healthcare professional may ask you to collect the urine sample in a sterile container over a 24 hour period. Follow all the appropriate instructions given by the healthcare professional during and after the urine sample collection. Submit the collected urine samples in the lab for the test.
If the test result shows high levels of copper in the urine, it may indicate Wilson’s disease. High copper levels in the blood are also seen in the case of copper toxicity. Individuals with diseased conditions such as chronic active hepatitis (liver disorder), biliary cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis (a condition of pain and swelling in the joints) and proteinuria (presence of excess protein in the urine) may also show increased copper levels in the urine.
If the test result shows low levels of copper in the urine, it may indicate Menkes kinky hair syndrome. Individuals with copper deficiency also show low copper levels in the urine. Other causes of low copper urine levels are poor nutrition (malnutrition), protein malnutrition, and lack of proper absorption of copper due to Chrons disease or celiac disease (diseased conditions of intestine).
However, copper urine test results are always compared with copper blood tests and ceruloplasmin blood test to confirm the diagnosis of Wilson disease and Menkes kinky hair syndrome.