Albumin Urine Test
An albumin test
checks urine for a protein called
albumin. Albumin is normally found in the blood and
filtered by the
kidneys. When the
kidneys are working as they should, there may be a very small amount of albumin in the urine. But when the kidneys are damaged, abnormal amounts of albumin leak
into the urine. This is called albuminuria. If the amount of albumin is very small, but still abnormal, it is called microalbuminuria.
Albuminuria is most often caused by kidney damage from
diabetes. But many other conditions can lead to kidney
damage. These include high blood pressure,
If early kidney
damage is not treated, larger amounts of albumin may leak into the
urine. When the
kidneys spill albumin, it can mean serious kidney damage is present. This can
chronic kidney disease.
An albumin urine test can
be done on a sample of urine that is collected:
- At a random time. This is usually after the first time
you urinate in the morning.
- Over a 24-hour period.
- Over a specific period of time, such as 4 hours or
Why It Is Done
This test is done to
check for albumin in the urine. Finding it early may change treatment so a person will keep as much kidney function as possible.
How To Prepare
You do not need to do anything special to prepare for this test.
How It Is Done
For a random urine test, you will
provide a clean-catch midstream urine sample. A morning urine sample gives the
best information about albumin levels.
Clean-catch midstream one-time urine collection
- Wash your hands to make sure they are clean
before you collect the urine.
- If the collection cup has a lid,
remove it carefully. Set it down with the inner surface up. Do not touch the
inside of the cup with your fingers.
- Clean the area around your
- For men: Pull back the foreskin, if
you have one. Clean the head of the penis thoroughly with medicated towelettes
- For women: Spread open the folds of skin around the
vagina with one hand. Then use your other hand to clean
the area around the vagina and
urethra thoroughly with medicated towelettes or swabs.
Wipe the area from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the
anus to the urethra.
- Start urinating into the toilet or urinal. Women should keep holding apart the folds of skin around the vagina while
- After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place
the collection cup into the stream. Collect about
2 fl oz (60 mL) of this
"midstream" urine without stopping the flow.
- Do not touch the
rim of the cup to your genital area. And don't get toilet paper, pubic hair,
stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine
- Finish urinating into the toilet or
- Carefully replace the lid on the cup. Return the cup to the
lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and can't get it to the lab in an
hour, refrigerate it.
A urine sample collected over time, such as over 4 or
24 hours, gives the most accurate results. So you may be asked to collect your
urine over a specific time period.
Timed urine collection (24 hours)
- You start collecting your urine in the morning. When you first
get up, empty your bladder but do not save this urine. Write down the time that
you urinated. This marks the beginning of your 24-hour collection
- For the next 24 hours, collect all your urine. Your doctor
or lab will usually provide you with a large container that holds about
1 gal (4 L). The container has
a small amount of preservative in it. Urinate into a small, clean container, and
then pour the urine into the large container. Do not touch the inside of either
container with your fingers.
- Keep the large container in the
refrigerator for the 24 hours.
- Empty your bladder for the final
time at or just before the end of the 24-hour period. Add this urine to the
large container, and record the time.
- Do not get toilet paper, pubic
hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine