All Nutrition Tests

Nutrition Tests For Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency and health information

Do you want to know if you're receiving enough nutrients in your body? 

Nutritional lab testing can help you figure out how healthy you are. Nutritional laboratory testing can reveal what's going on within your body. It's better if you get tested regularly to ensure that your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to function correctly. Ulta Lab Tests provides a full range of vitamin and mineral lab tests at an affordable price, allowing you to screen for nutritional deficiencies and keep track of your health. With only one nutritional panel, you may learn how to improve your health the right way by discovering what nutrients are missing in your diet and how to correct any deficiencies that could lead to illness. We believe you have the right to know what's going on; therefore, we provide the lab tests you need to find out.

Because there aren't always apparent symptoms, nutritional deficiencies can be difficult to identify, which is why regular testing is so important for maintaining optimal health.

Knowledge is power when it comes to nutrition! You get that information through our concise reports, which tell you exactly what's going on in your body so you can develop your wellness plan. All of our tests are affordably priced so that you can afford to obtain your data on your body. That way, you'll have the lab testing you need to make informed health decisions now and in the future! Our nutritional lab tests are easy to order and complete so that they won't take up much of your time or effort. Best of all, our results are guaranteed to be correct and are delivered in as little as 1-2 business days.

Depending on what exact nutrient levels need to be corrected, there are a variety of tests available. Regardless of which test you pick, you can be confident that our team will deliver excellent assistance at all times! 

Check out a few of our nutritional panels that combine popular tests to give you more bang for your buck.

For additional information on the Tests for Detecting Nutritional Deficiencies, click here.


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27 Essential Vitamins and Minerals to Spot Deficiencies

  • Calcium [ 303 ]
  • Carotene [ 311 ]
  • Chloride [ 330 ]
  • Cholinesterase, Serum [ 37965 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Iodine, Serum/Plasma [ 16599 ]
  • Iron, Total [ 571 ]
  • Magnesium [ 622 ]
  • Molybdenum, Serum/Plasma [ 6213 ]
  • Phosphate (as Phosphorus) [ 718 ]
  • Potassium [ 733 ]
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS [ 92888 ]
  • Selenium [ 5507 ]
  • Sodium [ 836 ]
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) [ 921 ]
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), LC/MS/MS [ 90353 ]
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum [ 7065 ]
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Plasma [ 36399 ]
  • Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic acid) [ 91029 ]
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) [ 91030 ]
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal Phosphate ) [ 926 ]
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin) [ 391 ]
  • Vitamin C [ 929 ]
  • Vitamin D, 1,25-Dihydroxy, LC/MS/MS [ 16558 ]
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) [ 931 ]
  • Vitamin K [ 36585 ]
  • Zinc [ 945 ]
     

  • CMP Includes (Chloride, Calcium, Potassium & Sodium)
  • Iron, Total [ 571 ]
  • Magnesium [ 622 ]
  • Phosphate (as Phosphorus) [ 718 ]
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS [ 92888 ]
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum [ 7065 ]

  • CMP Includes (Chloride, Calcium, Potassium & Sodium)
  • Carotene [ 311 ]
  • Cholinesterase, Serum [ 37965 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Iodine, Serum/Plasma [ 16599 ]
  • Iron, Total [ 571 ]
  • Magnesium [ 622 ]
  • Phosphate (as Phosphorus) [ 718 ]
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS [ 92888 ]
  • Selenium [ 5507 ]
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum [ 7065 ]
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal Phosphate ) [ 926 ]
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) [ 931 ]
  • Zinc [ 945 ]
     

  • CMP Includes (Chloride, Calcium, Potassium & Sodium)
  • Carotene [ 311 ]
  • Cholinesterase, Serum [ 37965 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Iodine, Serum/Plasma [ 16599 ]
  • Iron, Total [ 571 ]
  • Magnesium [ 622 ]
  • Phosphate (as Phosphorus) [ 718 ]
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS [ 92888 ]
  • Selenium [ 5507 ]
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) [ 921 ]
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), LC/MS/MS [ 90353 ]
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum [ 7065 ]
  • Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic acid) [ 91029 ]
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) [ 91030 ]
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal Phosphate ) [ 926 ]
  • Vitamin C [ 929 ]
  • Vitamin D, 1,25-Dihydroxy, LC/MS/MS [ 16558 ]
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) [ 931 ]
  • Vitamin K [ 36585 ]
  • Zinc [ 945 ]
     

  • CMP Includes (Chloride, Calcium, Potassium & Sodium)
  • Carotene [ 311 ]
  • Cholinesterase, Serum [ 37965 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Iodine, Serum/Plasma [ 16599 ]
  • Iron, Total [ 571 ]
  • Magnesium [ 622 ]
  • Molybdenum, Serum/Plasma [ 6213 ]
  • Phosphate (as Phosphorus) [ 718 ]
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS [ 92888 ]
  • Selenium [ 5507 ]
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) [ 921 ]
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), LC/MS/MS [ 90353 ]
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum [ 7065 ]
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Plasma [ 36399 ]
  • Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic acid) [ 91029 ]
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) [ 91030 ]
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal Phosphate ) [ 926 ]
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin) [ 391 ]
  • Vitamin C [ 929 ]
  • Vitamin D, 1,25-Dihydroxy, LC/MS/MS [ 16558 ]
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) [ 931 ]
  • Vitamin K [ 36585 ]
  • Zinc [ 945 ]
     

5-Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid (5-HIAA), 24-Hour Urine, with Creatinine

Patient Preparation: Patient should avoid food high in indoles: avocado, banana, tomato, plum, walnut, pineapple, and eggplant.

Collection Instructions : Collect 24-hour urine with 6N HCL to maintain a pH below 3. Urine without preservative is acceptable if pH is below 6 and the sample is shipped frozen. Keep urine refrigerated during collection if preservative is not used. Shipping refrigerated acceptable, shipping frozen acceptable. Record 24-hour urine volume on test request form and urine vial. Record patient's age on test request form and urine vial.

Clinical Significance: 5-HIAA is the end product of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptophan) and tyrptophan metabolism. Patients with carcinoid tumors of the midgut, e.g., ileum, produce high concentrations of 5-HIAA. Patients with carcinoid tumors of the foregut and hindgut may produce little or no 5-HIAA or do so intermittently.

Limitations: Patients with renal disease may display falsely decreased results. Urinary 5-HIAA is increased in patients with malabsorption disorders who also display a larger concentration of urinary tryptophan metabolites. Urinary 5-HIAA is increased in patients with intestinal obstruction and with some noncarcinoid islet cell tumors. Carcinoid syndrome may not cause elevated results, especially if the patient does not have diarrhea.



Serum albumin measurements are used in the monitoring and treatment of numerous diseases involving those related to nutrition and pathology particularly in the liver and kidney. Serum albumin is valuable when following response to therapy where improvement in the serum albumin level is the best sign of successful medical treatment. There may be a loss of albumin in the gastrointestinal tract, in the urine secondary to renal damage or direct loss of albumin through the skin. More than 50% of patients with gluten enteropathy have depressed albumin. The only cause of increased albumin is dehydration; there is no naturally occurring hyperalbuminemia



Amino acid analysis is necessary for the diagnosis of a variety of inborn errors of metabolism. These include, but are not limited to, phenylketonuria, tyrosimemia, citrullinemia, non-ketotic hyperglycinemia, maple syrup urine disease, and homocystinuria. The assay is also key for the continued monitoring of treatment plans for these disorders and useful for assessing nutritional status of patients. Our methodology is highly accurate at very low levels as well as at elevated levels.

This is a fasting test:  Minimun 4 hours after your last meal, or overnite for most accurate reading.  Non fasting specimens are acceptable for Pediatrics

 


IMPORTANT - The specimen for this test must be collected at a patient service center that can collect, store and transport frozen samples as outlined below.  

IMPORTANT: Before ordering this lab test, check and confirm with the selected patient service center to ensure that they can collect, store and transport frozen samples as outlined below.

Preferred Specimen(s) 

2 mL frozen plasma collected in an EDTA (lavender-top) tube

Collection Instructions 

Collect blood from stasis-free vein of patient (e.g., no tourniquet). Patient should not clench fist during collection, as muscular exertion often increases venous ammonia levels. Patient should avoid smoking prior to phlebotomy since smoking increases plasma ammonia levels. Tubes should be filled completely and kept tightly stoppered at all times. Place immediately on ice. Separate plasma from cells within 20 minutes and freeze plasma immediately.

Transport Temperature 

Frozen

Specimen Stability 

Room temperature: Unstable
Refrigerated: Unstable
Frozen -20° C: 72 hours
Frozen -70° C: 7 days

Reject Criteria 

Hemolysis • Lipemia • Received thawed • PPT Potassium EDTA (white-top) tube

Clinical Significance

Ammonia is one of the by-products of protein metabolism. Elevated blood ammonia levels have been associated with severe liver dysfunction such as hepatic encephalopathy, coma resulting from cirrhosis, severe hepatitis, Reye's syndrome, and drug hepatotoxicity. Also, elevated blood ammonia has been reported in cardiac failure, azotemia, and pulmonary emphysema. Correlation between plasma ammonia and the degree of encephalopathy can be erratic.


Description: Apo A1 and B is a blood test that measures that amount of Apolipoprotein A1 and Apolipoprotein B in the blood’s serum along with the ratio between B/A1. This test is used to assess cardiovascular risk. Low levels of APO A1 are associated with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and are said to predict CAD better then triglycerides and HDL does.

Also Known As: Apo A1 and B Test, Apo A1 Test, Apo B Test, APOAB Test, Apolipoprotein B-100 Test, Apolipoprotein Evaluation Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting for 12 hours is required.

When are Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests ordered?

Apolipoprotein A-I and B, as well as other lipid tests, may be ordered as part of a screening to identify a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.

Apo A-I is a protein that plays a key function in lipid metabolism and is the most abundant protein in HDL, or "good cholesterol." Excess cholesterol in cells is removed by HDL, which transports it to the liver for recycling or elimination. Apo A-I levels tend to rise and fall with HDL levels, and apo A-I deficits are linked to an increased risk of CVD.

Apo B is a protein that plays a role in lipid metabolism and is the major protein component of lipoproteins including VLDL and LDL, popularly known as "bad cholesterol." Apo B concentrations are similar to LDL-C concentrations.

What does Apolipoprotein A1 and B blood tests check for?

Lipids are transported throughout the bloodstream by apolipoproteins, which mix with them. Lipoproteins are held together by apolipoproteins, which protect the water-repellent lipids at their core.

Lipoproteins are cholesterol or triglyceride-rich proteins that transport lipids throughout the body for cell absorption. HDL, on the other hand, is like an empty cab or taxi. It travels to the tissues to collect excess cholesterol before returning it to the liver. Cholesterol is either recycled for future use or eliminated in bile in the liver. The only mechanism for cells to get rid of excess cholesterol is by HDL reverse transport. It protects the arteries and, if enough HDL is present, it can even reverse the formation of fatty plaques, which are deposits caused by atherosclerosis and can contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Sticking with the taxi analogy, the driver is Apolipoprotein A. It permits HDL to be detected and bound by receptors in the liver at the end of the transport by activating the enzymes that load cholesterol from the tissues into HDL. Apolipoprotein A is divided into two types: apo A-I and apo A-II. Apo A-I has a higher prevalence than apo A-II. Apo A-I concentrations can be evaluated directly, and they tend to rise and fall in tandem with HDL levels. Deficiencies in apo A-I are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Chylomicrons are lipoprotein particles that transport dietary fats from the digestive system to tissue, primarily the liver, via the bloodstream. These dietary lipids are repackaged in the liver and combined with apo B-100 to create triglyceride-rich VLDL. This combo is similar to a taxi with a full load of passengers and apo B-100 as the driver. The taxi moves from place to place in the bloodstream, releasing one passenger at a time.

Triglycerides are removed from VLDL by an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which produces intermediate density lipoproteins first, then LDL. VLDL contains one molecule of apo B-100, which is kept as VLDL loses triglycerides and shrinks to become the cholesterol-rich LDL. Apo B-100 is detected by receptors on the surface of many different types of cells in the body. The absorption of cholesterol into cells is aided by these receptors.

LDL and apo B-100 transport cholesterol that is essential for cell membrane integrity, sex hormone generation, and steroid production. Excess LDL, on the other hand, can cause fatty deposits in artery walls, as well as blood vessel hardening and scarring. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty deposits restrict blood arteries. The risk of a heart attack increases as the atherosclerotic process progresses.

LDL-C levels, which are typically ordered as part of a lipid profile, tend to mimic Apo B-100 levels. Many experts believe that apo B levels will eventually show to be a more accurate predictor of CVD risk than LDL-C. Others disagree, believing that vitamin B is only a modestly superior choice and that it should not be used on a regular basis. The clinical utility of apo B, as well as other developing cardiac risk markers including apo A-I, Lp(a), and hs-CRP, is still unknown.

Lab tests often ordered with Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests:

  • Cholesterol Total
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • LDL Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipid Panel
  • Lipoprotein (a)
  • Homocysteine
  • hs-CRP
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility

Conditions where Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests are recommended:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Angina

How does my health care provider use Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests?

An apo B/apo A-I ratio can be determined by ordering both an apo A-I and an apo B test. To assess the risk of developing CVD, this ratio is sometimes used instead of the total cholesterol/HDL ratio.

An apo A-I test may be ordered in the following situations:

Assist in the diagnosis of apo A-I deficiency caused by genetic or acquired diseases.

Assist those with a personal or family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, or triglycerides in their blood.

Keep track of how well lifestyle changes and lipid therapies are working.

An apo A-I test can be ordered in conjunction with an apo B test to determine the apo B/apo A-I ratio. This ratio is occasionally used instead of the total cholesterol/HDL ratio to assess the risk of developing CVD.

As an alternative to non-HDL-C, Apo B levels may be ordered to assess the success of lipid treatment.

An apo B test may be conducted in rare circumstances to assist determine a genetic issue that causes apo B overproduction or underproduction.

What do my Apolipoprotein A1 and B test results mean?

Low apo A-I levels are linked to low HDL levels and slowed elimination of excess cholesterol from the body. Low levels of apo A-I, as well as high levels of apo B, are linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Deficiencies in apo A-I are caused by a number of hereditary diseases. Abnormal lipid levels, notably excessive amounts of low-density lipoprotein, are common in people with certain illnesses. They frequently have a higher rate of atherosclerosis. Low apo A-I levels are caused by several genetic diseases.

Raised apo B levels are linked to elevated LDL-C and non-HDL-C levels, and are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevations may be caused by a high-fat diet and/or a reduction in LDL clearance from the blood.

A direct cause of abnormal apo B levels is some hereditary diseases. Familial combined hyperlipidemia, for example, is an inherited condition that causes excessive cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Apolipoprotein B deficiency, also known as Bassen-Kornzweig syndrome, is a relatively rare hereditary disorder that results in unusually low amounts of apo B.

A variety of underlying diseases and other factors might result in abnormal apo B levels.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: Apolipoprotein B is a blood test that measures that amount of Apolipoprotein B in the blood’s serum. This test is used to assess cardiovascular risk.

Also Known As: Apo B Test, Apolipoprotein B-100 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an Apolipoprotein B test ordered?

Apolipoprotein A-I and B, as well as other lipid tests, may be ordered as part of a screening to identify a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.

Apo B is a protein that plays a role in lipid metabolism and is the major protein component of lipoproteins including VLDL and LDL, popularly known as "bad cholesterol." Apo B concentrations are similar to LDL-C concentrations.

What does an Apolipoprotein B blood test check for?

Lipids are transported throughout the bloodstream by apolipoproteins, which mix with them. Lipoproteins are held together by apolipoproteins, which protect the water-repellent lipids at their core.

Lipoproteins are cholesterol or triglyceride-rich proteins that transport lipids throughout the body for cell absorption. HDL, on the other hand, is like an empty cab. It travels to the tissues to collect excess cholesterol before returning it to the liver. Cholesterol is either recycled for future use or eliminated in bile in the liver. The only mechanism for cells to get rid of excess cholesterol is by HDL reverse transport. It protects the arteries and, if enough HDL is present, it can even reverse the formation of fatty plaques, which are deposits caused by atherosclerosis and can contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Chylomicrons are lipoprotein particles that transport dietary fats from the digestive system to tissue, primarily the liver, via the bloodstream. These dietary lipids are repackaged in the liver and combined with apo B-100 to create triglyceride-rich VLDL. This combo is similar to a taxi with a full load of passengers and apo B-100 as the driver. The taxi moves from place to place in the bloodstream, releasing one passenger at a time.

Triglycerides are removed from VLDL by an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which produces intermediate density lipoproteins first, then LDL. VLDL contains one molecule of apo B-100, which is kept as VLDL loses triglycerides and shrinks to become the cholesterol-rich LDL. Apo B-100 is detected by receptors on the surface of many different types of cells in the body. The absorption of cholesterol into cells is aided by these receptors.

LDL and apo B-100 transport cholesterol that is essential for cell membrane integrity, sex hormone generation, and steroid production. Excess LDL, on the other hand, can cause fatty deposits in artery walls, as well as blood vessel hardening and scarring. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty deposits restrict blood arteries. The risk of a heart attack increases as the atherosclerotic process progresses.

LDL-C levels, which are typically ordered as part of a lipid profile, tend to mimic Apo B-100 levels. Many experts believe that apo B levels will eventually show to be a more accurate predictor of CVD risk than LDL-C. Others disagree, believing that vitamin B is only a modestly superior choice and that it should not be used on a regular basis. The clinical utility of apo B, as well as other developing cardiac risk markers including apo A-I, Lp(a), and hs-CRP, is still unknown.

Lab tests often ordered with an Apolipoprotein B test:

  • Apolipoprotein A1
  • Cholesterol Total
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • LDL Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipid Panel
  • Lipoprotein (a)
  • Homocysteine
  • hs-CRP
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility

Conditions where an Apolipoprotein B test is recommended:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Angina

How does my health care provider use an Apolipoprotein B test?

An apo B/apo A-I ratio can be determined by ordering both an apo A-I and an apo B test. To assess the risk of developing CVD, this ratio is sometimes used instead of the total cholesterol/HDL ratio.

As an alternative to non-HDL-C, Apo B levels may be ordered to assess the success of lipid treatment.

An apo B test may be conducted in rare circumstances to assist determine a genetic issue that causes apo B overproduction or underproduction.

What do my Apolipoprotein B test results mean?

Raised apo B levels are linked to elevated LDL-C and non-HDL-C levels, and are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevations may be caused by a high-fat diet and/or a reduction in LDL clearance from the blood.

A direct cause of abnormal apo B levels is some hereditary diseases. Familial combined hyperlipidemia, for example, is an inherited condition that causes excessive cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Apolipoprotein B deficiency, also known as Bassen-Kornzweig syndrome, is a relatively rare hereditary disorder that results in unusually low amounts of apo B.

A variety of underlying diseases and other factors might result in abnormal apo B levels.

Is apoB a heart disease risk factor? 
The markers of particle number, apoB, or LDL particle number were better at predicting the risk of heart disease than LDL-C.

There are two major forms of Apolipoprotein B, B-100 and B-48. B-100, synthesized in the liver, is the major protein in VLDL, IDL, and LDL cholesterol. B-48, synthesized in the intestines, is essential for the assembly and secretion of chylomicrons. Patients with increased concentrations of Apolipoprotein B are at increased risk of atherosclerosis.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A Basic Metabolic Panel is a blood test used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease.  

Also Known As: BMP, Chemistry Panel, Chemistry Screen, Chem 7, Chem 11, BMP Test, SMA 7, SMAC7, Basic Metabolic Test, Chem Test, Chem Panel Test 

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Serum 

Test Preparation: 9-12 hours fasting is preferred. 

When is a Basic Metabolic Panel test ordered?  

A BMP may be requested as part of a standard physical examination. 

The panel is frequently ordered in hospital emergency rooms because its components provide vital information regarding a person's renal state, electrolyte and acid/base balance, blood glucose, and calcium levels. Significant changes in these test results can suggest serious issues such as renal failure, insulin shock or diabetic coma, respiratory distress, or abnormalities in heart rhythm. 

What does a Basic Metabolic Panel blood test check for? 

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a 9-test panel that provides essential information to a health practitioner about a person's current metabolic status, including kidney health, blood glucose level, electrolyte and acid/base balance. Abnormal results, particularly when they are combined, can suggest a problem that needs to be addressed. 

The following tests are included in the BMP test: 

  • Bun/Creatinine Ratio: this is a ratio between your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and Creatinine result.  

  • Calcium: this is a measurement of calcium in your blood. Calcium is the most abundant and one of the most important minerals in the body as it essential for proper nerve, muscle, and heart function. Calcium is also used for blood clot formation and the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. 

  • Carbon Dioxide: this is a measure of carbon dioxide in your blood. Carbon dioxide is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as chloride, potassium, and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels.  

  • Chloride: this is a measure of Chloride in your blood. Chloride is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels. 

  • Creatinine: this is a measure of Creatinine levels in your blood. Creatinine is created from the breakdown of creatine in your muscles and is removed from your body by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

  • Egfr African American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Egfr Non-Afr. American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Glucose: this is a measure of glucose in your blood. Glucose is created from the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion and is the body’s primary source of energy. 

  • Potassium: this is a measure of Potassium in your blood. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in cell metabolism, nerve and muscle function, and transport of nutrients into cells and removal of wastes products out of cells. 

  • Sodium: this is a measure of Sodium in your blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function. 

  • Urea Nitrogen (Bun): this is a measure of Urea Nitrogen in your blood, also known as Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN). Urea is a waste product created in the liver when proteins are broken down into amino acids. Elevated levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Basic Metabolic Panel test: 

  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Lipid Panel
  • Insulin
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • C-Reactive Protein

Conditions where a Basic Metabolic Panel test is recommended: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Kidney Disease 
  • Liver Disease 

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Basic Metabolic Panel test? 

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is used to evaluate a person's kidney function, electrolyte, acid/base balance, and blood glucose level, all of which are linked to their metabolism. It can also be used to keep track of hospitalized patients and persons with known illnesses like hypertension and hypokalemia. 

If a health practitioner wants to track two or more separate BMP components, the full BMP might be ordered because it contains more information. Alternatively, when monitoring, the healthcare provider may order specific tests, such as a follow-up glucose, potassium, or calcium test, or an electrolyte panel to track sodium, potassium, chloride, and CO2. If a doctor needs further information, he or she can request a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), which is a collection of 21 tests that includes the BMP. 

What do my Basic Metabolic Panel results mean? 

The results of the tests included in the BMP are usually analyzed together to look for patterns. A single abnormal test result may indicate something different than a series of abnormal test findings. 

Out-of-range results on any of the BMP's tests can be caused by a number of things, including kidney failure, breathing issues, and diabetes-related consequences. If any of the results are abnormal, one or more follow-up tests are usually ordered to help determine the reason and/or establish a diagnosis. 

Is there anything else I should know? 

The results of the BMP components can be influenced by a range of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Any medications you're taking should be disclosed to your healthcare professional. Similarly, it is critical to provide them with a thorough medical history because many other circumstances can influence how your results are interpreted. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Please note the following regarding BUN/Creatinine ratio: 

The lab does not report the calculation for the BUN/Creatinine Ratio unless one or both biomarkers’ results fall out of the published range. 

If you still wish to see the value, it's easy to calculate. Simply take your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and divide it by your Creatinine result.  

As an example, if your Urea Nitrogen result is 11 and your Creatinine result is 0.86, then you would divide 11 by 0.86 and get a BUN/Creatinine Ratio result of 12.79. 


In diabetics, the measurement of B-hydroxybutyrate as well as blood glucose is needed for the assessment of the severity of diabetic coma and is essential for the exclusion of hyperosmolar non-ketotic diabetic coma. A specific enzymatic assay for Beta-hydroxybutyrate is extrememly important in the assessment of ketosis.


An increase in serum bile acids concentration in the fasting state or postprandial is considered to be a specific indicator of liver disease. A decreased level indicates bile acid malabsorption, possibly due to ileal dysfunction.

Collection Instructions

Allow sample to clot for 30 minutes, spin at 3,000 RPM for 10 minutes and transfer serum to plastic, amber vial. If amber vial is not available, wrap tube in aluminum foil to protect from light. Freeze within 30 minutes and send frozen.


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Description: A C-peptide test is a test that will measure the amount of C-peptide, a short amino acid chain, in the blood. This test can be used to determine if the beta cells in the pancreas are producing enough insulin. It can also be used to evaluate the reason for low blood glucose.

Also Known As: Insulin C-Peptide Test, Connecting Peptide Insulin Test, Proinsulin C-peptide test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting is required.

When is a C-Peptide test ordered?

When a person is initially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, C-peptide levels may be ordered as part of a "residual beta cell function" study.

When a person has type 2 diabetes, a health practitioner may request the test on a regular basis to track the state of their beta cells and insulin production over time and assess whether or not insulin injections are needed.

When there is reported acute or recurring low blood glucose and/or excess insulin is suspected, C-peptide levels can be measured.

A C-peptide test may be conducted on a regular basis after a person has been diagnosed with an insulinoma to assess treatment effectiveness and detect tumor recurrence.

When a person's pancreas has been removed or has had pancreas islet cell transplants, C-peptide levels may be tracked over time.

What does a C-Peptide blood test check for?

C-peptide is a chemical made up of a short chain of amino acids that is released into the bloodstream as a byproduct of the pancreas producing insulin. This test determines how much C-peptide is present in a blood or urine sample.

Proinsulin, a physiologically inactive molecule, splits apart in the pancreas, within specialized cells called beta cells, to generate one molecule of C-peptide and one molecule of insulin. Insulin is necessary on a regular basis for the transport of glucose into the body's cells. When insulin is needed and released into the bloodstream in reaction to elevated glucose levels, equal amounts of C-peptide are also released. C-peptide can be used as a measure of insulin production because it is produced at the same rate as insulin.

C-peptide testing, in instance, can be used to assess the body's insulin production and distinguish it from insulin that is not produced by the body but is given as diabetes medication and hence does not generate C-peptide. This test can be done in conjunction with a blood test for insulin.

Lab tests often ordered with a C-Peptide test:

  • Insulin
  • Glucose

Conditions where a C-Peptide test is recommended:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome

How does my health care provider use a C-Peptide test?

C-peptide testing can be used for a variety of reasons. When proinsulin breaks into one molecule of C-peptide and one molecule of insulin, C-peptide is created by the beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to use glucose as its primary energy source. C-peptide is a helpful measure of insulin production since it is produced at the same rate as insulin.

A C-peptide test is not used to diagnose diabetes; however, when a person is newly diagnosed with diabetes, it may be ordered alone or in conjunction with an insulin level to evaluate how much insulin the pancreas is currently making.

The body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin in type 2 diabetes, so it compensates by manufacturing and releasing more insulin, which can destroy beta cells. Oral medications are commonly used to help type 2 diabetics stimulate their bodies to produce more insulin and/or make their cells more receptive to the insulin that is already produced. Type 2 diabetics may eventually produce very little insulin as a result of beta cell loss, necessitating insulin injections. Because any insulin produced by the body is reflected in the C-peptide level, the C-peptide test can be used to track beta cell activity and capability over time and to assist a health care provider in deciding when to start insulin treatment.

Antibodies to insulin can develop in people on insulin therapy, independent of the source of the insulin. These often interfere with insulin assays, making it difficult to assess endogenous insulin production directly. C-peptide measurement is a good alternative to insulin testing in certain situations.

C-peptide levels can also be utilized in conjunction with insulin and glucose levels to help determine the source of hypoglycemia and track its therapy. Excessive insulin supplementation, alcohol intake, hereditary liver enzyme deficits, liver or kidney illness, or insulinomas can all cause hypoglycemia symptoms.

Insulinomas can be diagnosed with the C-peptide test. These are tumors of the pancreas' islet cells, which can produce excessive levels of insulin and C-peptide, resulting in abrupt hypoglycemia. C-peptide testing can be used to track how well insulinoma treatment is working and to detect recurrence.

A C-peptide test may be performed to help evaluate a person who has been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that includes abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated blood glucose and/or insulin resistance.

C-peptide levels are occasionally used to verify the effectiveness of treatment and the procedure's sustained success after someone has had his pancreatic removed or has had pancreas islet cell transplants to restore the ability to manufacture insulin.

What do my C-Peptide test results mean?

A high level of C-peptide implies that endogenous insulin synthesis is high. This could be a result of a high blood glucose level brought on by carbohydrate consumption and/or insulin resistance. Insulinomas, low blood potassium, Cushing syndrome, and renal failure are all linked to a high level of C-peptide.

C-peptide levels that are decreasing in someone with an insulinoma suggest a response to treatment when used for monitoring; levels that are increasing may indicate a tumor recurrence when used for monitoring.

A low amount of C-peptide is linked to a reduction in insulin synthesis. This can happen when the beta cells generate insufficient insulin, as in diabetes, or when their production is reduced by exogenous insulin administration.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A hs-CRP or High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test is a blood test used to accurately detect lower concentrations of the protein C-Reactive Protein. This test is used to evaluate your risk of cardiovascular and heart disease and to check for inflammation and many other issues.

Also Known As: hsCRP Test, Cardiac CRP Test, high sensitivity C-reactive protein Test, CRP Test for heart disease.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a hs-CRP test ordered?

There is currently no consensus on when to get an hs-CRP test. It may be beneficial for treatment purposes to order hs-CRP for those that have kidney disease, diabetes or inflammatory disorders.

It's possible that hs-CRP will be tested again to confirm that a person has persistently low levels of inflammation.

What does a hs-CRP blood test check for?

C-reactive protein is a protein found in the blood that rises in response to infection and inflammation, as well as after trauma, surgery, or a heart attack. As a result, it's one of numerous proteins referred to as acute phase reactants. The high-sensitivity CRP test detects low levels of inflammation in the blood, which are linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

According to the American Heart Association, CVD kills more people in the United States each year than any other cause. A number of risk factors have been related to the development of CVD, including family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight or diabetic, however a considerable number of people with few or no recognized risk factors will also acquire CVD. This has prompted researchers to investigate for new risk variables that could be causing CVD or could be used to identify lifestyle modifications and/or treatments that could lower a person's risk.

High-sensitivity CRP is one of an increasing number of cardiac risk markers that may be used to assess an individual's risk. According to certain research, monitoring CRP with a highly sensitive assay can assist identify the risk level for CVD in persons who appear to be healthy. CRP levels at the higher end of the reference range can be measured with this more sensitive test. Even when cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range, these normal but slightly elevated levels of CRP in otherwise healthy persons might indicate the future risk of a heart attack, sudden cardiac death, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

Lab tests often ordered with a hs-CRP test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Lipid Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lp-Pla2
  • Glucose

Conditions where a hs-CRP test is recommended:

  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Stroke

How does my health care provider use a hs-CRP test?

A test for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein can be used to assess a person's risk of cardiovascular disease. It can be used in conjunction with a lipid profile or other cardiac risk markers, such as the lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 test, to provide further information regarding the risk of heart disease.

CRP is a protein that rises in the bloodstream as a result of inflammation. A continuous low level of inflammation, according to studies, plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis, the narrowing of blood vessels caused by the build-up of cholesterol and other lipids, which is typically linked to CVD. The hs-CRP test successfully detects low levels of C-reactive protein, indicating low but chronic inflammation, and so aids in predicting a person's risk of developing CVD.

Some specialists believe that high-sensitivity CRP is a good test for assessing CVD, heart attacks, and stroke risk, and that it can help in the evaluation process before a person gets one of these health problems. Some experts believe that combining a good marker for inflammation, such as hs-CRP, with a lipid profile is the best way to predict risk. This test has been recommended by several organizations for persons who are at a moderate risk of having a heart attack in the following ten years.

What does my hs-CRP test result mean?

Even when cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range, high levels of hs-CRP in otherwise healthy people have been found to predict an elevated risk of future heart attacks, strokes, sudden cardiac death, and/or peripheral arterial disease.

Higher hs-CRP concentrations indicate a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, while lower values indicate a lower risk. Individuals with hs-CRP values at the high end of the normal range are 1.5 to 4 times more likely than those with low levels of hs-CRP to have a heart attack.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Serum calcium is involved in the regulation of neuromuscular and enzyme activity, bone metabolism and blood coagulation. Calcium blood levels are controlled by a complex interaction of parathyroid hormone, vitamin D, calcitonin and adrenal cortical steroids. Calcium measurements are useful in the diagnosis of parathyroid disease, some bone disorders and chronic renal disease. A low level of calcium may result in tetany.

Carbamazepine and its metabolite (10, 11-carbamazepine epoxide) are widely used for control of generalized tonic-clonic, partial-onset, complex and mixed seizure disorders. The metabolism of carbamazepine in epileptic patients has several different pathways that can be altered when the patient is co-medicated with other anticonvulsants and, therefore, its therapeutic level should be monitored along with its metabolite in their free and protein bound states.

Carbamazepine and its metabolite (10, 11-carbamazepine epoxide) are widely used for control of generalized tonic-clonic, partial-onset, complex and mixed seizure disorders. The metabolism of carbamazepine in epileptic patients has several different pathways that can be altered when the patient is co-medicated with other anticonvulsants and, therefore, it's therapeutic level should be monitored along with its metabolite in their free and protein bound states.

Carbamazepine and its metabolite (10, 11-Carbamazepine epoxide) are widely used for control of generalized tonic-clonic, partial-onset, complex and mixed seizure disorders. The metabolism of carbamazepine in epileptic patients has several different pathways that can be altered when the patient is co-medicated with other anticonvulsants and, therefore, its therapeutic level should be monitored along with its metabolite in their free and protein bound states


Did you know that as many as 10% of US citizens suffer from nutritional deficiencies? The most prevalent nutritional deficiencies include: 

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Iron deficiency
  • Calcium deficiency

What makes this even more alarming is that you may not realize that you have a nutritional deficiency. This makes it essential to conduct nutritional lab tests so that the doctor can diagnose and treat the problem right away. 

Undergoing a nutrition test provides a detailed insight into how you can stay healthy. The following guide will give you a better idea regarding various nutritional deficiencies and why lab tests are essential. 

What are nutritional deficiencies? 

Your body's most significant source of nutrients is the food that you eat every day. Including fruits and vegetables in your diet can keep your nutritional levels high.  

However, suppose you have a diet consisting of foods with high sugar and saturated fat content. In that case, you may eventually succumb to nutritional deficiencies because these foods don't contain the nutrition your body needs. 

A nutritional deficiency may lead to celiac disease or kidney disease if your body doesn't get its required percentage of vitamins and minerals. 

In addition to not eating the right food, food intolerances can also lead to nutritional deficiencies if you have malabsorption in your gut or inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the conditions that these intolerances and illnesses can lead to are the following: 

  • Goiter due to iodine deficiency
  • Osteoporosis and rickets due to calcium deficiency
  • Anemia due to iron deficiency
  • Scurvy due to Vitamin C deficiency
  • Stunted growth due to zinc deficiency
  • Anemia due to Vitamin B12 defiecieny

Not all nutritional deficiencies are the same. The type of disease you get depends on the respective deficiency in your body.  

Risk factors for a nutritional deficiency 

Nutritional deficiencies are not country-specific or gender-specific health problems. It can happen to anyone. For this reason, you should be aware of some of the factors that may lead to this problem. 

  • Vomiting and diarrhea 
  • Drinking heavily 
  • Heavy menstrual periods 
  • Chronic illness 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Anemia 
  • Smoking 

Your monthly income can also indirectly affect your nutrition. Many people who don't earn enough to make ends meet usually eat cheaper or more readily available foods such as fast food, thus leading them not to get the nutrition their bodies need. 

What causes a nutritional deficiency? 

Scientists and doctors cite the lack of minerals and vitamins in your body as the primary reasons for nutritional deficiencies. Here are a few reasons why that can happen: 

  • Cooking your food for a longer time than required 
  • Following a strict diet or going vegan 
  • Having a medical condition that restricts your body's vitamin absorption 
  • Taking medicines like seizure medications and antacids 
  • Drinking too much alcohol resulting in Vitamin C deficiency 
  • Smoking also leads to Vitamin C deficiency as it decreases the amount of Vitamin C that your body usually absorbs 

Symptoms of a nutritional deficiency 

The best way to counter nutritional deficiency is to eat a well-balanced meal. It prepares your body to fight against diseases related to these deficiencies efficiently. 

Some of the symptoms that you should keep an eye on are as follows: 

  • Bleeding gums 
  • Hair loss 
  • Dandruff 
  • Sores or mouth ulcers around the corners of your mouth 
  • Dry and scaly skin patches 
  • Trouble seeing at night 
  • Brittle hair and nails 

In addition to the above symptoms, you may also get restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome causes uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in your legs due to a nerve condition. It makes you feel so uneasy that you may want to move your legs all the time. Although scientists are not entirely sure whether it happens due to a nutritional deficiency, they believe it's the connection between restless leg syndrome and your body's blood iron levels that trigger this effect. 

Diagnosing a nutritional deficiency 

Now that you know the nutritional deficiency symptoms, you should be able to detect whether you have one of the above problems or not. If you do, you shouldn't waste time before seeing a doctor. 

Your doctor will thoroughly examine you and ask questions related to the deficiency symptoms and past medical history. He may ask you to undergo some blood tests to check the level of deficiencies. 

Nutritional imbalances may lead to loss of bone density and muscle mass, and weight loss. That's why blood tests are essential to identify the type of nutritional deficiency you have and prevent it from wreaking havoc in your body. 

Treatment for a nutritional deficiency 

The treatment for your nutritional deficiency depends on whether you have a minor or severe deficiency. Sometimes, all you need to do is change your eating habits to deal with the problem. 

Doctors recommend eating eggs, meat, and iron-fortified cereals and grains to people with anemia as iron deficiency symptoms. You can also talk to a registered dietician if you have severe iron deficiency. 

The job of a registered dietician is to check your current diet and make necessary modifications to meet the deficiency your body has. This may include asking you to increase the consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. 

As already mentioned, some deficiencies require more than just a diet change. The dietician or your doctor may recommend you take additional mineral or vitamin supplements. Make sure the supplement you buy is safe and doesn't have adverse reactions on your body. 

Lab tests to screen for nutritional deficiencies 

Ulta Lab Tests is the one-stop destination for everyone who wants to test their nutrition and vitamin levels. 

Doctors often recommend a vitamin and mineral panel as this series of tests checks your mineral, vitamin, and blood levels. Your body's complete blood count (CBC) indicates the level of white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells. It's usually used to detect conditions like anemia successfully. 

CMP or comprehensive metabolic profile is another panel that tests your liver, calcium, kidney function, and electrolyte and protein level. It indicates whether your organs are functioning correctly or not. 

As mentioned earlier, iron deficiency can lead to restless leg syndrome and anemia. It will be wise to go for an iron level test to rule out these conditions. 

In addition to CBC, iron deficiency, and CMP, you should also evaluate your zincVitamin D, and Vitamin B12 levels. While Vitamin D helps to make your bones stronger, zinc ensures the proper functioning of your immune system and quick healing of wounds. Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cells, and eating red meat, milk, fish, and eggs can keep your Vitamin B12 level up. 

Apart from zinc and vitamins, your body also requires magnesium to allow the chemicals in your body to work smoothly. It also keeps your blood pressure and heart rate under control. 

Other lab tests 

Omega-3 and 6 are two essential fatty acids available in food like sunflower oil, seeds, nuts, and salmon. They allow your body to function smoothly and keep your heart safe from various cardiovascular diseases. 

Additionally, your body also needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones. But consuming too much iodine isn't good as it can increase your blood pressure. Also, don't forget to eat food rich in Vitamin K as it improves your tissues and bones and normalizes blood clotting. 

FAQs about nutritional deficiencies 

Not many people are aware, but the food that you eat significantly impacts your health. For example, processed foods and saturated fats are a strict no-no if you have arthritis, as they would eventually increase joint pain.  

What are some of the foods that can help deal with arthritis? 

  • Fish like salmon as it contains a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart. 
  • Beans to lower your body's inflammation as it contains fiber. 
  • Nuts as they reduce inflammation. 
  • Fruits and vegetables as they contain antioxidants. 

How can you ensure that the food you eat meets your nutritional requirements? 

It would be best if you kept an eye on the dietary guidelines recommended for Americans. Moreover, you should also check the guidelines for pregnant women, older adults, adults, toddlers, and infants. 

Is magnesium helpful in preventing headaches? 

Studies show that a high percentage of magnesium in your daily diet can reduce migraine attacks. However, it's wise to talk to your doctor first because excessive magnesium consumption can lead to other health problems. 

Nutrition lab tests with Ulta Lab Tests 

With Ulta Lab Tests, you can expect to get accurate test results to enable your doctor to make a proper diagnosis and decide which treatment method is best for your health.  

Here are some of the things that make Ulta Lab Tests stand out: 

  • You don't need health insurance at Ulta Lab Tests 
  • Your test results will remain secure and confidential 
  • You don't need a physician's referral to order tests 
  • You get a 100% satisfaction guarantee 
  • You can save money thanks to competitively priced lab tests 
  • You can get your nutritional test results online within 48 hours for most tests. 

Take control of your nutritional health today with Ulta Lab Tests.

Dehydration refers to the process of excessive water loss from body tissues, which is frequently accompanied by imbalances of chloride, potassium, sodium, and other types of electrolytes. This can happen anytime fluids are lost and not replaced adequately, especially when a person doesn’t drink enough fluids. There are no symptoms of early dehydration; moderate or mild dehydration may cause symptoms including headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue, and thirst. More serious symptoms may be caused by severe dehydration, including shock, unconsciousness, low blood pressure, confusion. They might even result in death in certain cases. 

The human body is comprised of around 60% to 70% water and requires a continuous supply to function properly. Water primarily enters the body from drinking liquid and then secondarily from the food we consume. The intestines absorb the water and then carry it throughout the entire body. Water is comprised of the fluids that are contained inside of cells, within mucous membranes, inside the lymphatic system, in the spaces between tissues and cells, and the fluid part of the blood inside of our arteries and veins. Fluids may be shifted as needed from one area or compartment to another.

Most water gets filtered out of the blood and is then is reabsorbed and recirculated by the kidneys several times. Dissolved wastes and excess water create urine and then are eliminated during urination from the body. There are also additional small quantities of water that are lost continually in stool and through breathing and sweating.

The total amount of regular water loss can range from 1,500 up to 2,500 milliliters (mL) a day (around 50 to 85 ounces a day) based on these sources: 

  • Urine: an average of 1000-2000 mL per day
  • Exhaling/Evaporation: 500-1000 mL per day
  • Stool: 50 to 100 mL per day

It is a very complex process to maintain the conversation and balance of water inside the body. The kidneys belong to the feedback system that removes or conserves water by diluting or concentrating urine and through controlling sodium conservation. Sodium and other electrolytes like bicarbonate, chloride, potassium helps with regulating the balance of water at the cellular level through maintaining electrical neutrality and the acid-base balance of the body.  

This feedback system, as well as its components, is critical in helping to maintain a healthy water level inside the body. The body’s sensors perceive and respond to decreases and increases in the amounts of dissolved substances and water inside the bloodstream. As the number of dissolved particles within the blood (osmolality) increases, which increases the number of particles or decreases how much water is in the blood, the hypothalamus – a specialized gland inside the brain – secretes anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). The hormone gives the kidneys a signal to conserve water. To maintain blood volume and pressure, water moves throughout the cells into the bloodstream. If this is not corrected, the tissues of the body dry out, which can cause cells to malfunction and shrink. As levels of fluids decrease, the brain triggers a “thirst” response, which signals an individual to drink more water. These feedback systems, when they work together, are normally able to keep a dynamic fluid balance maintained.  

Dehydration takes place whenever fluids or liquids are lost at a faster rate than they are able to be replaced. That may happen with not taking in enough fluids through eating and drinking, using diuretics (medications which increase the production of urine), sweating diarrhea, or excessive vomiting. The situation may worsen if the individual loses too little sodium (hypernatremia) or too much (hyponatremia) in relation to the reduction in water. Prolonged dehydration may cause shock and result in the internal organs being damaged, especially the brain, which can lead to coma, confusion, or even potentially death.

Anybody may become dehydrated. However, the condition tends to be more serious in elderly people, the young, and individuals with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions. Children and infants might have a hard time communicating that they are thirsty. Since they have higher body water content and faster metabolism than adults do, the fluid requirements for children are also different than those for adults. Diarrhea, vomiting, and sweating are common sources of fast fluid loss within children. Diarrheal illnesses worldwide are a very serious health threat. The World Health Organization reports that in children under five years old, the second leading cause of death is diarrheal illness. It is estimated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 2,2200 children are killed every day by diarrhea in developing countries.

Dehydration in the elderly is a very common problem. It has been associated with a range of adverse health results. Experts estimate that over 20% of elderly people who live independently within the United States are dehydrated. There have been similar dehydration rates recorded in elderly individuals living in UK residential treatment facilities.

Causes

High amounts of water may be lost very quickly with prolonged diarrhea and/or vomiting. One or both of the symptoms may be found in a wide range of conditions, including the following:

  • Irritable bowel
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Drug toxicity or overdose
  • An obstruction, such as in the digestive tract
  • Stomach flu (gastroenteritis) – inflamed digestive tract; this is a very common cause of diarrhea and vomiting in people of all ages; it might be linked to waterborne and foodborne illnesses and cause by parasitic, viral, or bacterial infections in the digestive tract

Fluids might also be lost due to the following:

  • Burns
  • Fever
  • Prolonged or intense sweating and physical exertion that might happen in athletes who are training for extended periods and/or in hot temperatures

Excessive urination might occur with:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Using certain medications like diuretics
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (uncontrolled diabetes)
  • Certain diseases that affect the ability of the body to conserve water and concentrate urine

A lack of fluids might also happen due to insufficient intake. That might happen:

  • With a reduced sense of appetite or thirst
  • Due to a lack of enough available water
  • In some elderly individuals who need help with accessing water
  • In individuals with sore throats or inflamed mouths who do not drink enough due to pain
  • In infants who are unable to communicate thirst

Certain rare causes include:

  • Addison Disease
  • Diabetes insipidus

Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms and signs of dehydration vary from one person to the next and on how long the reduced intake of fluids lasts.

Early dehydration does not have any symptoms. Moderate and mild dehydration might cause no or few noticeable symptoms. However, people might experience symptoms, including the following:

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Headache
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • An infant having mildly sunken eyes
  • Reduction in tears
  • Constipation
  • Less frequent urination and urine might be a darker yellow which indicates a concentration
  • Sticky and/or dry mouth
  • Increased thirst

Severe dehydration might cause increasingly serious symptoms and signs, including:

  • Confusions and unconsciousness in critical cases
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • An infant with sunken fontanelles (soft spots on top of their head)
  • An infant with sunken eyes
  • Dry skin lacking in elasticity
  • Extremely dry mucous membranes and mouth
  • Intense thirst
  • Lack of urine – no or little urine is produced, and it is darker yellow
  • Lack of sweating and tears

Tests

A dehydration diagnosis is often based on clinical symptoms and signs, and appropriate treatment is provided. Typically, laboratory testing is not required for moderate or mild dehydration. Still, various non-laboratory evaluations might be used for assessing a person with more serious symptoms and signs. 

Non-Laboratory Evaluations

They might include evaluation of:

  • State of conscious
  • If the eyes appear to be sunken, and to what degree if so?
  • Capillary refill rate – is this slower than usual? For the evaluation, the pressure gets applied to the nail bed of the patient until it turns white, which indicates the blood was forced out. The pressure is then released. It is then observed how long it takes for the nail bed to once again turn pink, which indicates the return of the blood.
  • Skin turgor – a fold of skin gets pinched and is then released. When this is done, does it just slowly relax or bounce back into shape?
  • Blood pressure – is it normal or too low?
  • Heart rate – is it normal or rapid?
  • Breathing rate – is it normal or rapid?
  • Examination of dryness of mucous membranes and skin
  • Production of tears and urine output

Laboratory Tests

In severe dehydration cases, laboratory testing is often ordered to identify acid-base and electrolyte imbalances and to evaluate general health status and kidney function. If organ dysfunction and/or imbalances are discovered, then serial testing might be conducted to monitor an individual over time as well as how they respond to treatment. Testing might include:

Basic metabolic panel (BMP) – this panel can offer information on a person’s general health in addition to kidney function and acid-base balance: Electrolytes: (bicarbonate (CO2), chloride, potassium, sodium)

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatine for evaluating kidney function. In dehydration, they are often also increased.

Urinalysis for evaluating the amount of urine production, its concentration, and color.

Complete blood count (CBC) for evaluating blood cells as well as the balance in between the liquid and solid parts of the blood; and one component specifically, the hematocrit, which dehydration may elevate.

Glucose for detecting high levels that might be an indication of uncontrolled diabetes.

Blood and/or urine osmolality – evaluate the water balance of the body.

If the dehydration cause is obvious, then it is normally not necessary to do any other testing. However, various tests might be conducted when the cause is not known, to diagnose as well as address any underlying conditions, like those that are associated with prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea.

A stool culture to search for a bacterial infection that might be causing diarrhea.

C. diff toxin and Clostridium difficile tests.

O&P – for detecting intestinal parasites.

A wide range of other tests might be conducted depending on what the underlying cause is suspected to be of the symptoms and signs, including:

Cortisol for detecting Addison disease

Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) – this is performed rarely to help with diagnosing diabetes insipidus, or a deficiency

Liver panel – for detecting liver disease

Screening for drugs of abuse – for detecting an overdose

Blood ketones – for evaluating diabetic-ketoacidosis