Does this test have other names?
Urine albumin, 24-hour urine test for albumin
What is this test?
This test looks for a protein called albumin in your urine. The test is used to check
for kidney damage or disease.
Albumin helps to keep the right amount of fluid moving through your body. Your kidneys
filter toxins from your blood, but they allow proteins to pass through because proteins
are useful to your body. Proteins should be reabsorbed in your blood and not be passed
out in your urine. But if your kidneys are damaged or diseased, albumin may leak into
your urine. One of the earliest signs of kidney damage is albumin in your urine.
Why do I need this test?
You may have this test if your health care provider thinks you have kidney disease
or if you have diabetes.
You may need to have this test again in 1 to 2 weeks. This is so your health care
provider can see if your urine albumin level is rising.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
Your health care provider might also do tests to check for other waste products in
your blood. These include creatinine and urea nitrogen. If your kidneys are working
the way they should, these waste products are removed from your blood.
You may have tests to see how much creatinine is in your urine. These tests help your
health care provider figure out your urine albumin/creatinine ratio. This helps to
screen for, diagnose, and monitor treatment for kidney disorders.
You may also have a test to figure out your glomerular filtration rate. Tiny blood
vessels in the kidney, known as glomeruli, keep protein from seeping into your urine.
If your glomeruli are damaged, more protein will seep into your urine.
What do my test results mean?
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses
to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health
A normal amount of albumin in your urine is less that 20 mg a day. A normal total
protein amount in your urine is less that 150 mg a day.
If your test shows high levels of urine albumin, or a rise in urine albumin, it could
mean you have kidney damage or disease.
If you have diabetes, one possible cause of an increased urine albumin is diabetic
nephropathy, or kidney disease.
How is this test done?
This test requires a urine sample. Your health care provider may want to use a 24-hour
urine sample. For this type of sample, you must collect all the urine you make for
24 hours. Empty your bladder completely first thing in the morning without collecting
it and note the time. Then collect your urine every time you go to the bathroom for
the next 24 hours.
Does this test pose any risks?
This test has no known risks.
What might affect my test results?
Your test results might be affected if you:
Have a urinary tract infection
Have a fever
Have high blood pressure
Have high blood sugar
Have certain cancers such as bladder cancer
Have certain kidney diseases like glomerulonephritis or a disease that affects the
kidney like lupus
Certain drugs also can increase or decrease the amount of protein in your urine.
How do I get ready for this test?
You don't need to prepare for this test. But be sure your doctor knows about all medicines,
herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't
need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use. If you are doing a 24-hour
test, make sure you understand how to collect the sample. Ask if there are any foods
you should not eat before or during the test.