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Understanding Urine Albumin

Albumin (al-BYOO-min) is a protein found in the blood. A healthy kidney does not let albumin pass into the urine. A damaged kidney lets some albumin pass into the urine. The less albumin in your urine, the better.

Graphic showing how albumin is filtered inside of a healthy kidney versus inside an unhealthy kidney 

If you are at risk for kidney disease, your provider should check your urine for albumin along with checking your GFR.

Testing for Urine Albumin

Your provider may send your urine sample to the lab to see if albumin, a type of protein, is in your urine.

  • If you have albumin in your urine, your provider may want to test it one or two more times to confirm the result. Measuring the albumin level in your urine helps your provider know which treatment is best for you.

When your results come back, you may hear terms such as "microalbuminuria," "macroalbuminuria," "urine protein," "proteinuria," "albuminuria," or "urine-to-creatinine ratio," which are all used to describe how much albumin was found.

Understanding a Urine Albumin Result

  • A urine albumin result below 30 is normal.
  • A urine albumin result above 30 is abnormal and may mean kidney disease.

In addition to your urine albumin test, your provider should also check your GFR.

If you do not understand your lab results, ask your health care provider to explain them to you. Please remember that the information on this website should not take the place of talking with your health care provider.

You should also ask your provider what you can do to keep your kidneys healthy.
Learn more about how to keep your kidneys healthy.

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.

March 1, 2012

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