The first step in interpreting a urinalysis is the macroscopic analysis, which examines the color, clarity and amount of urine, as well as noting any blood, sediment or precipitates, explains eMedicineHealth. Abnormalities indicate certain types of health conditions or disorders. Next is the microscopic analysis of a small portion of the urine sample. This looks for the presence and quantity of red or white blood cells, epithelial cells, other abnormal cellular elements or crystals, which also provide health information.
Normal urine is light yellow and clear, and abnormal-appearing urine can indicate conditions such as dehydration, infection or liver disease, states eMedicineHealth. Visible blood can be an indication of kidney stones or urinary tract cancer, and foamy urine indicates other kidney problems. Some medications also change the color of urine. Laboratories usually perform a dipstick test as well, looking for the presence of glucose, ketones, bilirubin, small amounts of blood and other abnormal findings. These results can indicate metabolic conditions, infections or other problems, such as liver disease.
Under microscopic examination, the presence of red and white blood cells can indicate a urinary tract infection. Red blood cells may also mean kidney stones, kidney inflammation or some sort of trauma to the urinary system, says eMedicineHealth. The presence of other cells or crystals point to kidney problems, trauma or infection.