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With the kidneys being one of the most sensitive parts of the body, it is important to check them regularly. Kidneys are the body's natural detoxers and they filter out waste products from the food and drink we consume daily. One way to test your kidneys function is the urine specific gravity test. It is a medical procedure that shows how well your kidneys dilute urine. You can order this test for no specific reason to see how well your kidneys are functioning at any given time.

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What does the test determine exactly?

As we all know, kidneys filter our blood and dispose of all the toxins through urine. That filtrating process maintains normal electrolyte balance and makes sure the body functions. The main use of the urine specific gravity test is to pinpoint whether the electrolyte levels are too high or too low. The results of this test will indicate whether the kidneys are malfunctioning, which can happen as a result of old age or disease.

 Urine Specific Gravity test
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What are some reasons the doctor might order a urine specific gravity test?

Taking a urine specific gravity test can be done out of precaution during a yearly check-up. While some people do take the test for this reason, the most common reason for this test is by a doctor's orders. The performance of your kidneys may be an indicator of more serious conditions. It is useful when determining if you have something along the lines of:

  • Dehydration
  • Over-hydration
  • Heart malfunctions
  • Shock
  • Diabetes insipidus (a rare form of diabetes that manifests itself through excreting extremely diluted urine)
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney damage or infection
  • Low sodium levels
  • Increased sodium levels
urine specific test
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How often may I undertake the Urine specific gravity test?

Although it sounds serious, it has no repercussions on the body whatsoever. Because of that, it is an excellent medical aid. You can test one person numerous times a day. Doctors usually administer the frequency of testing to see if a condition is changing for the better.

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What do I need to do to prepare for the Urine specific gravity test?

When most people see the word "preparation," their initial thoughts are ones of shock. However, there is no reason to worry at all. There are only a few small things that you need to do to get yourself ready for the test. First of all, the doctor is likely to ask you about the medications that you're taking because some medications may alter the results. If you are taking medication containing sucrose or dextran, you should stop taking them for at least three days before the test. Next, it is important to know that intravenous contrast dye can alter the color and gravity of your urine. It creates a color contrast during an MRI and X-ray to increase visibility inside the body. Some foods contain powerful pigments that can alter the way your urine will show during the test. For this reason, it is best to avoid foods like:

  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Carrots
  • Rhubarb
  • Fava beans
beets urine

How does one perform the Urine specific gravity test?

The doctor will collect a urine sample from you. You should use a sterile urine cup that is previously stored in a sterile, vacuum bag. Only before urinating in it should you open it. If you open it for too long before the urination, bacteria might contaminate the results. To be safe, use baby wipes to wipe the area around the urethra. Many people experience a mess when urinating in a cup. There is a simple way to avoid that – start urinating for 1 or two seconds. Then put the cup underneath the stream, filling it almost to the top. The test will be taken to the lab for further testing.

performing a test

How does the doctor interpret my test results?

You probably know what it means when your urine is dark. This is, as we are all aware, a result of not drinking enough liquid. This means the urine is heavier because you are not well hydrated and it has higher specific gravity. The gravity is lower when there is a larger amount of liquid in your body. Urine specific gravity testing is just a more precise way of assessing your health than just looking at the color. The concentration of your liquid waste is best seen when the doctor performs the test. It's an excellent start to see what is going on with your body. The doctor will look at the ratio of the urine's density in comparison to the density of water. Water normally has a density of about 1.000. Your urine is okay if it posts a score from 1.002 to 1.030. A score of 1.010+ plus indicates mild dehydration. If the specific gravity score of your urine is too high, it might be a sign of extra substances in your body, such as:

  • Glucose
  • Bilirubin
  • Protein
  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Crystals
  • Viruses Bacteria

Usually, a urinalysis performs along with the Urine specific gravity test. It measures the concentration of specific cells in your body. To be safe, you can order pH urine tests, ketone tests or even the hemoglobin ones.

testing urine

Will I suffer any side-effects from the test?

Not at all! It is basically urinating in a cup that might save your life if the condition is endangering your health. The only problem that might arise is if you have an infection of the urinary tract. Only then will there be a slight pain when urinating, otherwise it won't impact your life even in the slightest.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.