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Microalbumin Urine Test

How It Feels

There is no discomfort while collecting a urine sample.

Risks

There is no chance of problems while collecting a urine sample.

Results

A microalbumin test checks urine for the presence of a protein called albumin. Microalbuminuria is most often caused by kidney damage from diabetes.

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Albumin in urine
One-time collection:

Less than 2 milligrams per liter (mg/L)1

24-hour collection:

Adults at rest: Less than 80 milligrams (mg) in 24 hours or 0.002–0.08 grams (g) per day2

Adults moving around: Less than 150 mg in 24 hours or less than 0.15 g per day2

10-hour (overnight) collection:

Less than 20 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for 10-hour (overnight) collection3

 

Higher-than-normal values

You may need more than one test to find out how well your kidneys are working.

  • If your results are higher than normal, your doctor may check your urine more often to watch for kidney damage.
  • If you have 2 or 3 high results in a 3- to 6-month period and you have diabetes, your doctor may find kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy). Even though diabetes is the most common reason for high results, there are many other kidney problems that can cause high results.

Pregnant women with diabetes may have their urine checked to watch for high amounts of albumin.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

What To Think About

  • The American Diabetes Association recommends a microalbumin urine test for people who have:
    • Type 2 diabetes: First at diagnosis, and then yearly for diabetic nephropathy.
    • Type 1 diabetes: Yearly screening for diabetic nephropathy should begin 5 years after diagnosis.
  • A blood test to check creatinine levels is often done with a microalbumin urine test. To learn more, see the topic Creatinine and Creatinine Clearance.
  • A less precise test, the urine dipstick test, can be used to check for microalbuminuria in a single sample of urine. But the dipstick test does not accurately detect microalbuminuria and is not recommended in place of a microalbumin urine test.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 09, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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