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What is a microalbumin urine test?

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A microalbumin urine test detects the presence of a protein called albumin in the urine and is useful for the early detection of kidney damage, as explained by Mayo Clinic. Healthy kidneys retain albumin, and diseases that damage the kidneys can cause albumin to leak out into the urine.

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The normal amount of microalbumin in the urine is 30 milligrams or less, according to Mayo Clinic. Values between 30 and 300 milligrams indicate early kidney disease, while results above 300 milligrams suggest advanced kidney disease.

The most common cause of albumin in the urine is kidney damage from diabetes, accoring to WebMD. Other causes include hypertension, heart failure, cirrhosis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

The presence of albumin in the urine of patients with diabetes is associated with a rapid progression of kidney disease and kidney failure, as explained by The National Kidney Foundation. These patients require yearly albuminuria screening to ensure that kidney function is normal and to provide for early intervention when an elevated amount of the protein is detected.

Prevention of kidney damage in patients with diabetes involves tight glucose control, blood pressure control and smoking cessation, according to The National Kidney Foundation. Patients with albuminuria and kidney damage are treated with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, which are drugs that help slow down the progression of diabetic kidney disease.

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