Microalbumin Test

1 What is a Microalbumin Test?

A test that detects very small levels of blood protein or albumin in your urine are called urine microalbumin and this is also used to detect early signs of kidney damage in people who are at high risk of developing kidney disease.

Healthy kidneys filter waste from your blood and hang on to the healthy components, including proteins such as albumin – which is one of the first proteins to leak when kidneys become damaged.

People who are at high risk of kidney disease such as high blood pressure, type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes should have microalbumin test.

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2 Reasons for Procedure

The main reason for urine microalbumin test is to detect early signs of kidney damage.

How often you need microalbumin tests depends on any underlying conditions and your risk of kidney damage like:

  • High blood pressure – your doctor may recommend this regularly.
  • Type 1 diabetes – your doctor may recommend this test once a year beginning 5 years after your diagnosis.
  • Type 2 diabetes – your doctor may suggest this test once a year immediately after your diagnosis.

You doctor will also suggest frequent testing and treatment if your urinary microalbumin level is elevated.

3 Potential Risks

There are no risks and there should be no discomfort because the microalbumin test only requires normal urination.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

This is a simple urine test so to prepare for the microalbumin test, you can eat and drink normally.

The amount of urine your doctor may want to test may vary.

5 What to Expect

Here you can find out what to expect from your microalbumin test.

You will provide fresh urine sample and this may be done in different ways such as:

  • Random urine test – this is done anytime and can be combined with a urine test for creatinine to improve the accuracy of the results.
  • Timed urine test – this may be done first thing in the morning or after a 4-hour period of not urinating.
  • 24-hour urine test – this is done by collecting all your urine sample over a 24-hour period.

The urine sample will then be sent off to the lab for analysis.

6 Procedure Results

Results of the microalbumin test are measured as milligrams (mg) of protein leakage over 24 hours. Less than 30 mg is considered normal.

30 to 300 mg might indicate microalbuminuria which is an early kidney disease. More than 300 mg indicates macroalbuminuria which is an advanced kidney disease.

Discuss your test result with your doctor and what it means for your health. Your doctor may recommend repeating the test if your urinary microalbumin level is higher than normal.

Some of the factors that can cause higher than expected urinary microalbumin results include:

  • Certain medications.
  • Hematuria which is blood in the urine.
  • Recent vigorous exercise.
  • Fever.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Other kidney diseases.