To conduct urine microalbumin testing, it is necessary to collect either an early morning sample of urine (when the urine is most concentrated and a larger sample may be obtained), or a 24-hour urine sample (which is the collection of all urine passed over the course of 24 hours).
Albumin is a protein present in the blood in large amounts. When the kidneys are functioning as they should, only a small amount of albumin leaks through the kidneys into the urine. However, when the kidneys are not functioning properly, as is the case in diabetic kidney deterioration, a significantly greater amount of albumin is present in the urine. The test for measuring progressive increase in urinary protein concentration is microalbuminuria.
This test is important for diabetes patients, as variations in the amount of albumin can be uncovered by urine microalbumin testing long before outward symptoms of kidney failure are present, buying patients and their medical specialists valuable time to design or modify long-term treatment plans before damage becomes more severe.
This test should be performed periodically (as frequently as quarterly, or at least yearly) for those diagnosed with either diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension).
Last updated: 28-Jul-08