Urine specific gravity is a laboratory test, ordered by a medical provider, which shows the concentration levels of all chemical particles that happen to be in the urine. Once a urine sample is provided, this test can be performed right away. A color-sensitive pad is dipped into the urine and the color changes which occur will let the provider know what your estimated results happen to be.
Laboratories also use a refractometer to project light through the urine in order to determine its density. This method is more reliable than the dipstick testing and is the most common form of determining a person’s diabetes insipidus urine specific gravity.
What Do the Urine Specific Gravity Results Mean?
Density levels are based on a ratio of 1. Water would have a density of 1.000. This means any results which are closer to 1.000 mean that there are fewer contaminants in the urine and that the body is functioning with normalcy.
Most laboratories interpret the range for urine specific gravity as being 1.002-1.030. This would indicate that a patient’s kidneys were functioning at a normal level.
Low urine specific gravity results are typically 1.001-1.003. Anything above 1.010 may indicate that there is mild dehydration present, while higher numbers indicate that more severe dehydration is taking place. Results that are above 1.030 are considered to be high.
Specific substances in the urine will also cause higher urine specific gravity results. Red blood cells, white blood cells, proteins, glucose, crystals, and even bacteria will all cause the results to be higher. Most people will never have a result above 1.035. This indicates that the test was either contaminated or that blood glucose levels are under very poor control.
If there is a suspicion of high glucose or protein levels in the urine, then the urine specific gravity test may not be ordered. Certain contrast dyes can also negatively affect test results. In this instance, a diabetes insipidus urine osmolality test may provide more accurate results.
When There Is Decreased Urine Specific Gravity Results
When there is a decreased level of urine specific gravity, then this can be a strong indication that diabetes insipidus is present. It may also be an indication that there has been renal tubular necrosis occurring, which damages the kidney tubule cells. People who have been consuming too many fluids may also see decreased urine specific gravity levels.
Kidney failure may also be present with this type of test result. All possible health conditions must be excluded for a diabetes insipidus diagnosis to be confirmed through this specific urine test.
When There Is Increased Urine Specific Gravity Results
People who are dehydrated will commonly have increased urine specific gravity results. Any loss of body fluids can help to cause a high abnormal result. Even after a period of strenuous exercise, a healthy person would likely wind up with this test result, especially if they were not consuming fluids while working out.
Diarrhea can also cause this result if fluids are not being consumed. It is not uncommon for individuals with an inflammatory bowel condition to have high abnormal results, but be experiencing symptoms that are somewhat similar to diabetes insipidus. This is why a complete evaluation of a patient’s medical history must be included with the diabetes insipidus urine specific gravity test results.
People with heart failure will also typically have high urine specific gravity results. High levels of glucose in the urine may also cause this result. SIADH may also be a possibility of the urine specific gravity test is abnormally high.
The urine specific gravity test on its own does not provide most medical providers with enough information to make a definitive diagnosis of diabetes insipidus. These test results, along with other tests that may be ordered, will be compared with one another for a complete picture of a person’s current health. Although results in the 1.001-1.003 range may be a strong indicator of diabetes insipidus, other health conditions must also be excluded.
If you have any concerns about your signs or symptoms and think it may be diabetes insipidus, then discuss the information in this guide with your medical provider to determine if a urine specific gravity test could be right for you. Discuss treatment plan options, lifestyle changes, and other options that may be available to help control these symptoms. In doing so, you can take charge of your health and make sure diabetes insipidus doesn’t have an ongoing control over you.