A urine microalbumin test can detect early signs of kidney damage in people who have increased risk of developing kidney disease. The test identifies small amounts of protein, or albumin, in urine. Albumin in your urine indicates kidney problems. Your body should hold onto this protein, but unhealthy kidneys allow it to leak out and into your urine.

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What is a microalbumin test?

Albumin is a protein in your blood that your body uses for cell growth and tissue repair. When protein leaks into your urine, it is one of the earliest signs of kidney damage.

A microalbumin test detects any protein in your urine. Early detection of kidney problems is important so you can begin treatments to prevent or slow down advanced kidney disease.

Why is a microalbumin test important?

High levels of protein, or albumin, in your urine can be a sign of kidney damage. If you are at an increased risk for kidney disease, ask a healthcare provider if you need a microalbumin test. You have increased risk if:

  • You have diabetes
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have lupus
  • Your family has a history of kidney failure
  • You are more than 65 years old
  • You come from one of these ethnic backgrounds: African American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander or American Indian

In addition to a microalbumin test, your healthcare provider may also test your creatinine levels. Creatinine is a waste product that your kidneys should filter out of your blood. If your blood has a high creatinine level, it is an indication of kidney damage.

What should I expect with a microalbumin test?

A microalbumin test is a urine test. A healthcare provider will collect a urine sample to send to a lab for testing. Your healthcare provider may ask for one random sample or a 24-hour urine sample. Strenuous exercise can affect the protein levels in your urine. Your healthcare provider may ask you to avoid exercise before your test.

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