What Is Meant by an Albumin Trace in the Urine?

An albumin trace in the urine means the urine contains small amounts of protein, which is an early sign of kidney disease, according to the Diabetes and Lipid Clinic of Alaska. Several years before doctors see kidney damage evidence, kidneys release trace amounts of albumin into the urine. Microalbuminuria tests screen for albumin content in urine and help diagnose kidney disease, a complication of diabetes. Diagnosing kidney disease early in its development enables doctors to slow or stop its progress.

When kidneys function normally, they release little or no albumin in the urine; however, moderate increases in urine protein levels, or microalbuminuria, indicate kidney disease in its early stages, explains the Diabetes and Lipid Clinic of Alaska. People with high levels of albumin, called proteinuria, may be in advanced stages of kidney disease. A basic urinalysis cannot reveal the minute molecules of protein in microalbuminuria.

Several factors other than diabetes-related kidney disease can cause elevated microalbuminuria levels, such as lupus, urinary tract and other infections, high blood pressure and intense physical activity 24 hours or less before the test, notes the Diabetes and Lipid Clinic of Alaska. Treatment for patients with microalbinuria may include controlling blood sugar levels, lowering blood pressure to protect against kidney damage and implementing dietary changes, such as reducing protein consumption.