Top of the page
An albumin test checks urine for a protein called albumin. Albumin is normally found in the blood and filtered by the kidneys. When the kidneys are working as they should, there may be a very small amount of albumin in the urine. But when the kidneys are damaged, abnormal amounts of albumin leak into the urine. This is called albuminuria. If the amount of albumin is very small, but still abnormal, it is called microalbuminuria.
Albuminuria is most often caused by kidney damage from diabetes. But many other conditions can lead to kidney damage. These include high blood pressure, heart failure, cirrhosis, and lupus.
If early kidney damage is not treated, larger amounts of albumin may leak into the urine. When the kidneys spill albumin, it can mean serious kidney damage is present. This can lead to chronic kidney disease.
An albumin urine test can be done on a sample of urine that is collected:
This test is done to check for albumin in the urine. It helps tell your doctor how well your kidneys are working. This test is done most often to check the kidneys in people with diabetes. Other conditions also cause albuminuria. These conditions include high blood pressure, heart failure, and cirrhosis.
The sooner your doctor knows you have kidney damage, the more your doctor can do to protect your kidneys.
A morning urine sample gives the best information about albumin levels.
If the container has a lid, remove the lid and set it down with the inner surface up.
After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place the collection container in the stream. Collect about 60 mL (2 fl oz) of this "midstream" urine without stopping the flow. Don't touch the rim of the container to your genital area.
You collect your urine for a period of time, such as over 4 or 24 hours. Your doctor will give you a large container that holds about 4 L (1 gal). You will use the container to collect your urine.
But don't save this urine. Write down the time you began.
Each time you urinate during this time period, collect your urine in a small, clean container. Then pour the urine into the large container. Don't touch the inside of either container with your fingers.
Add this urine to the large container. Then write down the time.
This test usually doesn't cause any pain or discomfort.
There are no known risks from having this test.
Each lab has a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should show the range that your lab uses for each test. The normal range is just a guide. Your doctor will also look at your results based on your age, health, and other factors. A value that isn't in the normal range may still be normal for you.
You may need more than one test to find out how well your kidneys are working.
Pregnant women with diabetes may have their urine checked to watch for high amounts of albumin.
Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineCaroline S. Rhoads MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Caroline S. Rhoads MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.