SimplexHealth Guide to Urine Tests

Urine tests – indicators of waste removed by the kidney

The kidneys remove waste products, minerals, fluids and other substances from the blood to be passed in the urine. Urine contains hundreds of different body waste products. Food, drink, exercise and how well the kidneys work can affect what is in the urine. Regularly testing your urine can give an indication of changes in the body and help find the cause of certain symptoms. Urine can be tested very quickly using a test strip. Results can be read within seconds by comparing the colour change to the colour chart on the bottle.

A regular urine analysis can include the following tests:

Colour – the colour can be affected by diet, medicines and diseases. Dark and light can indicate levels of hydration, Vitamin B supplements can make urine bright yellow; foods like blackberries, beets, rhubarb can change the colour to red-brown as can the presence of blood.

Clarity – usually urine is clear. Substances like mucous, bacteria, sperm, blood or crystals can make it look cloudy.

Odour – urine tends not to smell very strong. An E-coli infection can cause a bad odour, diabetes or starvation can cause a sweet, fruity odour.

Specific gravity – controls the amount of substances in the urine and shows how well the kidneys balance the amount of water in the urine. The more solid the material is in the urine, the higher the specific gravity is. During dehydration, for instance, the urine is made with little water and as a result the specific gravity is higher.

pH – measures the acidity/alkalinity of urine. A pH of 4 shows a very acidic urine, a pH of 7 is neutral and 9 is strongly alkaline. Follower of the alkaline diet are aiming to have a neutral to alkaline pH balance.

Protein – not usually found in urine. Fever, hard exercise, pregnancy and some diseases may cause protein to be in the urine.

Glucose – indicates a type of sugar found in blood and normally there is very little or no glucose in urine. High blood sugar levels (ie from uncontrolled diabetes) or damaged or diseased kidneys can cause sugar to overspill into urine.

Ketones – the body produces ketones when fat is broken down for energy. These are passed in the urine. Large amounts of ketones may be a sign of a serious condition, diabetic ketoacidosis. A low sugar & carbohydrate diet or severe vomiting may also cause ketones in the urine.

Nitrite – in urine may mean that a urinary tract infection is present, as the bacteria which cause the infection make an enzyme which changes urinary nitrates into nitrites.

Leukocytes (white blood cells) – the presence of leukocytes in urine may be another indicator of a urinary tract infection.

Bilirubin – An abnormally high level of blood bilirubin may result from an increased rate of red blood cell destruction, liver damage or gall stones. It can also result in jaundice.

When testing urine, it is best to avoid eating any strong-coloured foods like blackberries and beets, and to test the urine mid-stream (ideally without stopping urination). Sometimes, doctors may also ask to stop Vitamin B supplements beforehand.

SimplexHealth offers multi-parameter test strips for urine. Choose from our range of  Urine Calcium test or 10-, 8- or 5-parameter tests. Multi-parameter tests can check Glucose, Protein, pH, Specifc Gravity, Blood, Ketones, Nitrite, Leukocytes, Urobilinogen, Bilirubin.
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