This test looks for a protein called albumin in a urine sample.
See also: Urine albumin
How the test is performed
A small sample of urine needs to be collected. You may be asked to give a sample while at your doctor's office. You may be sent home to collect all of your urine for four hours or 24 hours.
The test measures the amount of albumin and creatinine in your urine. The result is reported as the ratio of albumin to creatinine.
You may also need different blood tests to look for kidney damage.
How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for this test.
How the test will feel
You will urinate normally for this test. There is no discomfort.
Why the test is performed
Anyone with diabetes should have this test yearly. The test checks for signs of early kidney problems.
People with diabetes have a higher risk of kidney damage. In the early stages of kidney problems, there may be no other symptoms.
Normally, protein stays in the body. Little or no protein shows up in the urine.
A result of less than 30 micrograms per milligram (mcg/mg) is normal. This means that your kidneys are most likely working well.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What abnormal results mean
If the test finds albumin in your urine, your doctor may repeat the test.
A result of 30 - 299 mcg/mg may mean your kidneys are starting to become damaged.
You will need more tests must be done to confirm a problem. The test will also show how bad any kidney damage may be.
Most often the problem is caused by diabetes. Higher levels of albumin may also occur with:
- Certain immune disorders
- High blood pressure
- High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
What the risks are
There are no risks with providing a urine sample.
Healthy people may have higher levels after exercise. People who are dehydrated may also have higher levels.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2010. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:S11-S61.
Inzucchi SE, Sherwin RS. Type 1 diabetes mellitus. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 247.
Inzucchi SE, Sherwin RS. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 248.
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.