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urinalysis test measures several different components
of urine, a waste product made by the kidneys. A
routine urine screening test may be done to help
find the cause for many types of symptoms. The test
can provide information about your overall health
and clues to many conditions.
kidneys remove waste material, minerals, fluids,
and other substances from the blood for elimination
in the urine. Therefore, urine can contain hundreds
of different bodily waste products. Many factors,
such as diet, fluid intake, exercise, and kidney
function, affect what is in your urine.
than 100 different tests can be done on urine. A
routine urinalysis usually includes the following
Many factors affect urine color, including fluid
balance, diet, medications, and disease.
Urine is normally clear. This test determines the
cloudiness of urine, also called opacity or turbidity.
Bacteria, blood, sperm, crystals, or mucus can make
urine appear cloudy.
Urine usually does not smell very strong, but has
a slightly "nutty" (aromatic) odor. Some
diseases can cause a change in the normal odor of
Specific gravity. This measures
the amount of substances dissolved in the urine.
It also indicates how well the kidneys are able
to adjust the amount of water in urine. The higher
the specific gravity, the more solid material is
dissolved in the urine. When you drink a lot of
liquid, your kidneys should produce greater-than-normal
amounts of dilute urine (low specific gravity).
When you drink very little liquid, your kidneys
should make only small amounts of concentrated urine
(high specific gravity).
pH. The pH is a measure of how
acidic or alkaline (basic) the urine is. A urine
pH of 4 is strongly acidic, 7 is neutral (neither
acidic nor alkaline), and 9 is strongly alkaline.
Protein. Protein is normally not
detected in the urine. Fever, strenuous exercise,
normal pregnancy, and some diseases, especially
kidney disease, may also cause protein in the urine.
Glucose. Glucose is the type of
sugar usually found in blood. Normally there is
very little or no glucose in urine. However, when
the blood sugar level is very high, as in uncontrolled
diabetes, it spills over into the urine. Glucose
can also be present in urine when the kidneys are
damaged or diseased.
Nitrites. Bacteria that cause a
urinary tract infection (UTI) produce an enzyme
that converts urinary nitrates to nitrites. The
presence of nitrites in urine indicates a UTI.
esterase (WBC esterase). Leukocyte esterase
detects leukocytes (white blood cells) in the urine.
The presence of WBCs in the urine may indicate a
urinary tract infection.
When fat is broken down for energy, the body produces
by-products called ketones (or ketone bodies) and
releases them into the urine. Large amounts of ketones
in the urine may signal a dangerous condition known
as diabetic ketoacidosis.
Microscopic analysis. In this test,
urine is spun in a centrifuge so the solid materials
settle out. The sediment is spread on a slide and
examined under a microscope. Types of materials
that may be found include:
Red or white blood cells. Normally blood cells are
not found in urine. Inflammation, disease, or injury
to the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra can
cause blood in urine. White blood cells are often
a sign of infection, cancer, or kidney disease.
Casts. Some types of kidney disease
can cause plugs of material (called casts) to form
in tiny tubes in the kidneys. The casts can then
get flushed out into the urine. The type of cast
can provide clues about the type of kidney disease
that may be present.
Crystals. Healthy people often
have only a few crystals in their urine. However,
a large number of crystals, or the presence of certain
types of crystals, may indicate kidney stones or
a problem with how the body’s metabolism.
Bacteria and yeast cells. Normally there are no bacteria, yeast cells, or
parasites in urine. Their presence can indicate
Urinary Analysis (UA) involves multiple routine
tests on a urine specimen. A UA will routinely include
color, appearance, and odor; pH; and presence of
proteins, glucose, ketones, and blood. It is also
examined microscopically for RBCs, WBCs, casts,
crystals, and bacteria.
a urinalysis and a complete blood count provides
an excellent indication of a person’s overall health.
It is very rare that something can be going on in
the body and it does not show up in the blood or
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