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High Specific Gravity result

A urine test can show up several parameters, specific gravity test is a straightforward test that looks at a person’s urine concentration. The patient will need to collect a clean urine sample for testing in a clinic or a laboratory.

Urine concentration can show how well the kidneys are functioning or indicate an underlying condition that is altering the body’s fluid status.

A urine-specific gravity test cannot diagnose a condition, but it can play a role in identifying underlying health conditions ranging from kidney failure to dehydration.

High Specific Gravity

High specific gravity suggests that the concentration of urine is too high. This can be a sign of dehydration, and the doctor may recommend drinking more clear fluids.

Conditions that cause high specific gravity include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting resulting in dehydration
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Shock

High levels of certain substances in the urine can also cause high specific gravity.

Substances include:

  • glucose
  • proteins
  • red or white blood cells

Causes of low readings

Low specific gravity suggests that urine is too diluted. The person may be drinking too much fluid or have a condition that makes them thirsty.

Conditions that cause low specific gravity include:

  • diabetes insipidus
  • kidney damage or kidney failure
  • drinking too much fluid, for example, due to excess thirst, or polydipsia
  • using diuretics, or water pills, which cause the body to remove extra sodium from the urine
  • congestive heart failure

Hyponatremia can result from some of these conditions. If a person has hyponatremia, sodium levels in the body are too low.

Other factors that can affect results

Other factors that may give an inaccurate result:

  • exposing the sample to light and temperature, which can change the composition of some particles
  • bacterial growth
  • alkaline pH
  • glucose, which can affect pH
  • contrast agents used in scans and other procedures
  • recent exercise
  • some foods, such as beetroot, rhubarb, blackberries, and food colourings
  • some medications, including ibuprofen, chloroquine, and metronidazole

Urine specific gravity and urine colour

If a person has concerns about whether they are consuming enough fluid, checking their urine color may help. Urine tends to be darker and has higher specific gravity when a person does not drink enough fluids.

Urine is lighter and has lower specific gravity when a person is well-hydrated.

If a person continues to have dark urine after consuming extra fluid, it may be time to speak with a doctor.

Urine-specific gravity tests can give a more precise measurement of the urine’s concentration than just looking at the colour alone.

How to lower urine specific gravity

If urine specific gravity is high due to dehydration, a doctor may recommend:

  • drinking more clear fluids, especially water
  • consuming foods containing water, such as soups or jello
  • having intravenous fluids if the person is unable to take fluids by mouth

If urine-specific gravity is high for another reason, such as diarrhea or shock, the doctor will investigate and treat the underlying cause.

How to raise urine specific gravity

If urine specific gravity is low, a person may have a health condition that causes them to drink a lot of fluid or affects their kidney function.

A doctor may:

  • ask the person about any other symptoms
  • ask if they have been drinking large amounts of fluid
  • suggest further tests to identify the cause of the problem

A person does not need to think about raising their urine specific gravity. A doctor would need to find and correct the underlying cause. Addressing the cause can help normalise the specific gravity.

What does urine-specific gravity mean?

Urine contains solutes, or soluble particles. If it did not contain these particles, urine specific gravity would be 1.000, the same as water. Urine-specific gravity measures how many particles are in a person’s urine compared with water.

The higher the number of particles in the urine, the higher the urine specific gravity.

If there are more particles than in water, urine will be denser, and the specific gravity will be higher. Particles present in the urine may include glucose, proteins, and ketones.

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