Microalbumin Test – Microalbumin Urine Test – Microalbuminuria Test
If your doctor believes you may be at risk for kidney damage or kidney disease, it’s likely that you’ve had or will have a microalbuminuria test or microalbumin urine test. The microalbumin urine test is a urine test that measures the amount of albumin in your urine.
Albumin is a protein that your body uses for cell growth and to help repair tissues. It’s normally present in the blood. A certain level of it in your urine may be a sign of kidney damage.
Your kidneys are responsible for removing waste products from the blood and regulating the water fluid levels in your body. Healthy kidneys make sure that waste is filtered out from your body and that nutrients and proteins that are essential to your health, such as albumin, stay in your body.
It’s important to make sure your kidneys are functioning properly so that albumin remains in your blood. If your kidneys have been damaged, they may not be able to keep albumin in your blood, and it will start to spill into your urine. When this occurs, you may experience a condition known as albuminuria. Albuminuria simply means that your urine contains albumin.
The microalbuminuria test is also known as the albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) test or the urine albumin test.
What is the purpose of the Microalbumin Test?
Your doctor may refer a Microalbumin Test if you’re at risk for kidney damage or if they suspect your kidneys might be damaged. It’s important for your doctor to test and diagnose you as early as possible if your kidneys are damaged. Treatment may delay or prevent kidney disease. The two most common causes of kidney disease in are diabetes and hypertension, or high blood pressure. Your doctor may ask for the Microalbumin Test if you have one of these conditions.
The purpose of the microalbuminuria test is to measure the amount of albumin in the urine. The test is typically used in conjunction with a creatinine test to provide an albumin-to-creatinine ratio. Creatinine is a waste product in the blood that your kidneys should remove. When kidney damage occurs, creatinine levels in the urine decrease while albumin levels may increase.
How often you need microalbuminuria tests depends on whether you have any underlying conditions or whether you have the symptoms of kidney damage. Early stages of kidney damage usually show no signs or symptoms. However, if kidney damage is extensive, your urine may appear foamy. You may also experience swelling, or edema, in your:
It’s recommended that people who have diabetes get an annual microalbuminuria test. This is because diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys. Your doctor can use a microalbumin urine test to detect this damage.
If you have positive test results and you have diabetes, your doctor should confirm the results through additional testing over a three- to six-month period. If they confirm you have kidney damage, your doctor will be able to treat the kidney injury and help improve and maintain your kidney function.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may also screen you for kidney damage using the microalbumin urine test. High blood pressure can cause damage to the vessels of the kidney, resulting in the release of albumin into the urine. Testing for albumin should occur at regular intervals. Your doctor will determine when you need this test.
Normal Urine Microalbumin level
Microalbuminuria is the presence of a slightly high level of protein in the urine, and macroalbuminuria is the presence of a very high level of albumin in the urine each day. Results of the microalbuminuria test are measured as milligrams (mg) of protein leakage in your urine over 24 hours. Results generally indicate the following:
- Less than 30 mg of protein is normal.
- 30 to 300 mg of protein is known as microalbuminuria, and it may indicate early kidney disease.
- More than 300 mg of protein is known as macroalbuminuria, and it indicates more advanced kidney disease.
Several temporary factors can cause higher-than-normal urinary microalbumin results, such as:
- blood in your urine, or hematuria
- a fever
- recent vigorous exercise
- a urinary tract infection
Certain medications can also affect albumin levels in your urine. Examples include:
- acetazolamide (Diamox Sequels)
- antibiotics, including aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, penicillin, polymyxin B, and sulfonamides
- antifungal medications, including amphotericin B (Abelcet) and griseofulvin (Gris-PEG)
- lithium, which is a medication people use to treat bipolar disorder
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin (Bufferin), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve)
- penicillamine (Cuprimine), which is a medication people used in the past to treat rheumatoid arthritis
- phenazopyridine (Pyridium), which is a medication people use to treat urinary tract pain
- tolbutamide, which is a medication people use to treat diabetes
Learn: Routine Urine Test
What is a microalbumin-creatinine ratio?
Microalbumin is a small amount of a protein called albumin. It is normally found in the blood. Creatinine is a normal waste product found in urine. A microalbumin-creatinine ratio compares the amount of albumin to the amount of creatinine in your urine.
If there is any albumin in your urine, the amount can vary greatly throughout the day. But creatinine is released at a steady rate. Because of this, your laboratory can more accurately measure the amount of albumin by comparing it to the amount of creatinine in your urine. If albumin is found in your urine, it may mean you have a problem with your kidneys. A microalbumin-creatinine ratio is most often used to screen people who are at higher risk for kidney disease. These include people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Identifying kidney disease at an early stage can help prevent serious complications.
Other names: albumin-creatinine ratio; urine albumin; microalbumin
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