Microalbuminuria – What Is It?

When you undergo blood tests and urine investigations for diabetes mellitus, you may notice a term called ‘microalbuminuria‘ in your laboratory report. But not to panic; this article should give you a good understanding about what this term means.

What is the Microalbuminuria test?

Microalbuminuria is a test that detects the presence of microscopic amounts of protein in the urine.

The kidneys are responsible for removing toxic waste material that is present in the blood stream through the urine. When damage to the kidney occurs from diabetes, they may fail to perform this function efficiently. Due to this, not only is it unable to filter the blood properly, it also starts to leak protein in the urine.

The protein that is leaked into the urine is called albumin. Albumin is required for maintaining normal cell growth and for the repair of damaged tissues. The loss of albumin from the body can make an individual weak and tired.

urine protein

What is the normal amount of albumin in the urine?

Normally, the urine contains less than 30 mg of albumin in urine that is passed over 24 hour period.

Microalbuminuria is defined as levels of albumin in the union ranging between 30 mg to 300 mg in a 24-hour urine collection sample. It is also sometimes represented as between 20 -200 microgram/min.

When the quantity exceed 300 mg in a 24 hour period, it is called macroalbuminuria.

What is the significance of microalbuminuria?

The microalbuminuria test is performed to determine the quantity of albumin excreted in the urine. Concurrently, other investigations such as a blood creatinine level and an albumin-to-creatinine ratio may be performed.

Albumin in the urine may be present even if the creatinine is normal. In other words, you may feel that the kidney function is normal as the creatinine is normal but in fact damage is already begun as albumin is present in the urine.

Clinical studies have shown that the presence of microscopic amounts of albumin in the urine in patients with diabetes can predict the risk of development of heart disease in the future.

How is microalbuminuria treated?

There are simple ways to treat or postpone the development of microalbuminuria.

  • Control the blood sugars
  • Maintain an optimum blood pressure
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Medications such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ramipril, enalapril) are useful in delaying or even preventing the development of microalbuminuria.

 

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