Specific Gravity of Urine – Is it Important for Health?

Specific Gravity of Urine - Is it Important for Health?

Specific Gravity of Urine is a more precise measurement of urine’s overall concentration by just looking at the color of urine.

Test which is need find out the specific gravity of urine is USG(urine specific gravity test). The test is can identify the presence of solutes in a solvent. This test is for determining whether your kidney function is normal or not. However, it is important finding how well the kidney is diluting the urine.

In short, it is a ratio between urine density and water density.

The normal range of  Specific Gravity of urine  is 1.005-1.030

One of the most and easiest ways or methods to identify a disease at the earliest stage through this test. A urine test is a painless way of identifying diseases. Urine tests also dubbed as urinalysis and UA.

Diagnosing of urine can be part of routine checkups of overall health. Moreover, the USG  test is quite important as it is capable to identify or capture many diseases at their earliest age.

Diseases including Diabetes Inspidus, kidney, or liver can diagnose through this test.

In the Specific Gravity of Urine Test, doctors examine pee. Moreover, urinalysis can perform before some kind of surgery (esp. those are related to the abdomen) or in case of pregnancy check-up too.

Process of Urine Tests

Process of Urine Tests

There are majorly three ways to perform a urine test, your physician can use any one or all of them for the test.

Visually-  In this test, urine is examined visually. It includes the color of urine, turbidity of urine, or clarity of urine.

If the urine contains a trace of blood, whether it is red or dark brown. Apart from this, foam appears in your urine, it may be a sign of kidney disease. However, the cloudy appearance of urine indicates infection.

Microscopic Examination – In general, microscopic examination of urine is done, especially in those cases where particles are not able to identify visually.

Certain particles that should not be present in your blood components including bacteria, crystals, or clumps ( can be a sign of kidney stones).

Dipstick Test –   Specific Gravity of urine test is done by using a thin plastic stick treated with chemicals. If stick changes color then tests are normal.

Specific Gravity of Urine Test

The health practitioner can examine your kidneys through a urine test.  That test is named as Specific Gravity of Urine test.

The major role of the specific gravity of the urine test is to find how well your kidney works. The main role of kidneys in your body is to filter your blood and maintaining electrolytes.

Specific Gravity Urine (USG) test gives an estimation of urine osmolality, or if a urine sample contains glucose, proteins, or any large molecules. The Specific Gravity of Urine test is a very quick and easy method to find out whether your kidneys are recouped with some abnormalities or not.

Urine that’s too concentrated may give you a sign that your kidney is not functioning properly or water intake is not proper.

Patient Preparation Before Test

Preparation Before Test
urine test

Prior to the Specific Gravity of Urine test, the health practitioner may provide you with do list and not to do list to avoid any kind of interference of foreign matter (that could interfere with the test results ).

NOT TO DO LIST for  Specific Gravity Test of urine may include: stop taking medicines especially that contains sucrose or dextran.

TO DO LIST may include: if you have been recently undergone to either X-RAY or MRI SCAN (due to intravenous contrast dye) then you need to wait.

At least a gap of 3 days necessary since the dye administered.

A balanced diet is required in the days leading to the test. Some foods although you have to exclude which can affect the color of urine. We can exclude the following food from the diet: –

  • Rhubarb
  • Beetroot
  • Blackberries
  • Fava beans
  • Carrots

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Collecting Specimen for Finding  Specific Gravity of Urine

About 20mg/ml urine sample is collected for this test. The collection of urine samples would be either as clean-catch or midstream or according to the facility’s policies and procedures. The most preferred time to provide specimen or sample is morning when urine is most concentrated.

Sample of urine needs to collect in a sterilized container ( easily available in pharma stores or provided by your healthcare department or by your physician) to perform the specific gravity of urine.

It is suggested to use an antibacterial swab and clean urethra with it to avoid any unwanted errors. This will descend the possibility of bacterial contamination and more accurate results may we have.

While collecting the sample, firstly urinate a bit thereafter place the cup under the urine stream. Collect amount that might be told by your healthcare provider or according to the capacity of the container and thereafter finish urination in the toilet. This method is often referred to as CLEAN CATCH METHOD or MIDSTREAM METHOD.

Then, the Physician sends it into the laboratory department while it is fresh to ensure the best results. ( sample can be collected by the bedside of the patient )..

If the sample cannot be sent at the same time then refrigerate it as soon as possible.

Delay of more than two hours may lead to reckless results.

The laboratory technician uses a device named REFRACTOMETER ( a meter that is capable to calculate the density of a solution)  to project light into the sample.

USG testing through a refractometer is a more reliable method than Dipstick. Where the stick is placed in sample and urine changes its colors due to the presence of ions.

Testing through a hydrometer or urinometer is the least reliable method, which can also lead to obsolete.

Apart from the above-mentioned method, home tests can also be done. But, at-home test results may not occur correctly as it does not have a sterile environment like hospitals. Home tests are more susceptible to contamination.

The benefit of taking Urine Specific Gravity test at hospital premises is if they doubt on something they may send your sample for detailed analysis.

Sometimes,  Osmolality is performed to find out how kidney filter urine with osmolality concentration. Knowing osmolality can help physicians for various diagnosis of other conditions.

Interpreting the Results

Interpreting the Results

Consistently doing USG testing by the same methods for an individual is critical evaluating trends. Results vary a bit or slightly.

  • Normal Specific Gravity of Urine of adults generally leads to 1.010- 1.020.
  • Abnormal results are generally those who are either below to 1.010 or above to 1.020
  • Specific Gravity of Urine about 1.010 indicates dehydration. Higher the number of higher dehydrate you will be.
  • High Specific Gravity of urine  may happen due to certain substances like:
    • Bilirubin
    • RBC’s
    • Glucose
    • Proteins
    • Crystals
    • Bacteria

Patients suffering from certain kidney diseases, Urine Specific Gravity Test doesn’t vary with certain fluid intake and often referred to as fixed specific gravity.

A variety of tests such as urine pH tests, hemoglobin tests, and ketone tests can help physicians to make more accurate results.

Causes of Reduction in Specific Gravity of Urine

  • Excessive fluid intake
  • Due to diabetea inspidius.
  • Pyelenoephrtis
  • Aldosteronism
  • Edema from brain injury or brain surgery
  • Excessive water lost especially in pediatrics or older patients.
  • Secretion of antidiuretic hormone.
  • Congestive Heart Failure.

The Bottom Line

Specific Gravity of Urine is an easy and painless method to diagnose certain diseases at the earliest stage. The major advantage we can count for the USG  test is just excluding of few things from the diet and stopping certain medicines but temporarily.

In some cases, patients may suffer from super dehydration. In those cases, patients can be treated with some fluids that can transfer intravenously.

Mild dehydration can be resolved by drinking more water. But, in case you are overhydrated, it may happen due to some metabolic disorders or disorders due to the liver, heart, brain, or kidney that might be causing it.

Specific Gravity of Urine helps healthcare providers with differential diagnosis.

General FAQs

Is Diabetes Insipidus a rare disease?

Yes, it’s a rare disease. Fewer than 100000 cases ( in India).

Is it self diagnosable?

No, as it requires accurate results. Your health care provider can diagnose properly and provides you correct information.

What if Diabetes Insipidus left untreatable?

Treatment of DI is necessary else it will pull so much water from the blood with the help of kidneys. DI in children can lead to problems such as brain damage and poor growth.

Can diabetes insidious leads to kidney failure? 

Yes, it can happen. As kidneys produce large amounts of urine as they are failed to produce antidiuretic hormone and are unable to reabsorb filtered water back into the body.

What does Specific Gravity of urine  1.005 mean?

Specific Gravity of 1.005 leads to normal.

What are the causes of the low specific gravity of urine?

The decreased specific gravity of urine leads to renal failure, acute tubular necrosis, interstitial nephritis, and excessive fluid intake.

What does Specific Gravity of urine  1.20 means?

It states low Urine Specific Gravity results from the loss of kidneys’ ability to concentrate urine with renal diseases and also diabetes insidious due to the antidiuretic hormone’s absence.

What should not be found in the urine?

Glucose, Protein, ketones, bilirubin, RBCs should not be found in the urine. Moreover, these particles can interfere with the specific gravity of urine.

What are the warning signs of kidney’s trouble?

Elevated Blood Pressure.
Sleeping troubles.
Feet or ankle swelling.
Unintentional weight loss

Is a Specific Gravity of Urine Test have any side effect?

USG generally, is not associated with any harsh side effects. But if, the patient has UTI burning or painful sensation may occur.

What can affect the test result?

Drugs generally have lithium or are diuretics. Alkaline urine ( that may occur through dipstick method).

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