What Is a Diabetes Urine Microalbumin Test For?

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A microalbuminuria test, or urine albumin test, helps identify kidney damage in diabetics and other risk groups, according to Healthline. In a healthy kidney the albumin level is typically under 30 micrograms per milligram. Levels higher than this indicate some amount of kidney damage may be present.

Because diabetes can cause kidney damage an annual albumin test is recommended for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics from age 12 to 70, notes Healthline. Kidney damage can ultimately lead to kidney failure, and it is important to identify it as early as possible in order to slow its progress and preserve kidney function. Individuals suffering from hypertension may also be directed to take this test due to the fact that high blood pressure also can cause damage to the kidneys.

Albumin is a protein crucial to cell growth and tissue repair, but a damaged kidney allows it to leak from the bloodstream and be lost in the urine, explains Healthline. The microalbuminuria test is often performed in conjunction with a creatinine test to arrive at the albumin-to-creatinine ratio. Creatinine is a waste product that should be removed by healthy kidneys and is expected to be found in the urine. The ratio of albumin to creatinine in the urine helps doctors measure the level of damage and recommend appropriate treatments.