Contributed by – Healthians Team
What is urine specific gravity test?
The body makes urine as a way to get rid of waste and excess water that it doesn’t need, and the role of the kidneys is to concentrate the urine, so that the waste molecules can be excreted with minimal loss of water and nutrients. The concentration of excreted molecules determines the specific gravity of urine.
The urine specific gravity test is used to compare the density of urine with the density of water. Overly concentrated urine means the kidneys are not working properly or you are not drinking enough water. Low-concentrated urine means you have a rare condition called diabetes insipidus, which causes thirst and passing large amounts of diluted urine.
Who should get a urine specific gravity test?
Kidneys remove excess water and minerals from the body in the form of urine. Kidneys retain fluid when the body needs more water.
A doctor will use a urine specific gravity test if they suspect a person is dehydrated or has impaired kidney function, or has a condition that can alter the body’s fluid status, such as diabetes insipidus.
Why is a urine specific gravity test necessary?
A urine specific gravity test is a quick way for your doctor to determine whether your kidneys are working well or trying to compensate for some abnormality.
The specific gravity test is useful if your doctor thinks you have any of the following conditions:
- Dehydration or overhydration
- Heart failure
- Diabetes insipidus
- Kidney failure
- Kidney infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Low or high sodium levels
What do urine specific gravity test results mean?
Your doctor will use your urine specific gravity test results, along with other urinalysis results, to make an accurate diagnosis. Urine specific gravity measures the overall concentration of your urine rather than just looking at the color of your urine.
Your doctor will look at the ratio of the concentration of water to the concentration of your urine. In other words, the specific density of water will be 1.000. Ideally, a urine specific gravity reading between 1.002 and 1.030 would occur if your kidneys are functioning normally.
Specific gravity results above 1.010 may indicate mild dehydration. The higher the number, the more dehydrated you may be.
A high urine specific gravity may indicate that you have extra substances in your urine, such as:
- Red blood cells
- White blood cells
- the crystal
A person may need to stop taking certain medications before the test, especially those containing sucrose. Apart from that no special preparation is required for the exam.
How is urine specific gravity tested?
A person must clean the urethral area before collecting a urine sample because skin bacteria may be contaminated with the sample. For the test, your healthcare provider will ask you to collect a sample of your urine. You will be provided with a collection container. Also, special instructions called ‘Clean Catch Method’ will also be shared with you to ensure that the sample you collect is sterile. Make sure you collect the mid-flow sample and collect at least 30 to 60 mL.
After you provide a urine sample, the lab technician labels the container and sends your urine sample to a lab for proper diagnosis.
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