Albuminuria: Albumin in the Urine
What is albuminuria?
Albuminuria is a sign of kidney disease and means that you have too much albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein found in the blood. A healthy kidney doesn’t let albumin pass from the blood into the urine. A damaged kidney lets some albumin pass into the urine. The less albumin in your urine, the better.
Sometimes albuminuria is also called proteinuria.
Why is urine albumin important?
Measurement of urine albumin is an important tool for
- diagnosing kidney disease
- monitoring the progression of kidney disease
Health care providers regularly test people for albuminuria as part of a routine medical exam and will closely monitor urine albumin in people with kidney disease.
A urine albumin level that stays the same or goes down may mean that treatments are working. Treatment that lowers the urine albumin level may lower the chances that kidney disease will progress to kidney failure.
People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure are at risk for kidney disease. Talk with your health care provider about how often you should get a urine test for albumin.
How is albuminuria detected?
A health care provider often tests for albuminuria using a urine dipstick test followed by a urine albumin and creatinine measurement.
You will be asked to collect a urine sample in a special container in your health care provider’s office or a commercial facility. The office or facility tests the sample onsite or sends it to a lab for analysis.
Dipstick test for albumin. A dipstick test performed on a urine sample can detect the presence of albumin in the urine. For the test, a nurse or technician places a dipstick, a strip of chemically treated paper, into the urine. The dipstick changes color if albumin is present in the urine.
Albumin and creatinine measurement. A health care provider uses this measurement to determine the ratio between the albumin and creatinine in the urine and to estimate the amount of albumin excreted in 24 hours. Creatinine is a waste product that is filtered in the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Health care providers consider a urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio above 30 mg/g higher than normal.
How can albuminuria be reduced?
You may also be able to protect your kidneys and reduce albuminuria by working with a registered dietitian who can help you plan meals and change your eating habits. The meal plan may help you
- lose weight, if you are overweight
- avoid foods high in sodium or salt
- eat the right amounts and types of protein
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