The pee cup is the new crystal ball. A urine test could predict how long you’re going to live, says new research in the American Journal of Kidney Disease.
Researchers looked at over 810,000 patients’ urine samples and found a strong correlation between high levels of proteinuria—a protein in your pee—and an increased risk of mortality. In fact, guys who didn’t have traces of the protein were estimated to live roughly 15 years longer than those with heavy amounts.
Should you be concerned? Possibly. If you’re already on the fast track to croaking early—obvious risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, and a family history of disease—then you should get tested, says study author Tanvir Chowdhury Turin, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Calgary in Canada.
The test is simple. When you see your doctor for a regular checkup, request a proteinuria screening. Keep in mind: Seeing protein in your urine isn’t a death sentence—it merely serves as an early indicator that your kidneys have been damaged in some way, the researchers say. Once your doc identifies what’s causing the protein to show up, he’ll prescribe the necessary treatment, whether it’s a lifestyle change or medicine, says Turin.