Microalbumin Test.

This test checks urine for the presence of a protein called albumin. Albumin is found in the blood and filtered out by the kidneys.

If your kidneys are working properly there will be no albumin in your urine, but if they are dysfunctional in any way small quantities of albumin can leak into the urine. This condition is known as microalbuminuria.

What is the purpose of this test?
1. A screening test to detect early kidney damage.
2. To allow doctors to adjust treatments so as to halt or slow down the progression of kidney damage.

Types of tests.
1. A test on a single sample of urine randomly collected, usually in the morning.
2. A test on a sample collected over a specific period of time, such as 4 hours or overnight.
3. A test on a sample collected over a 24-hour period.

The last test is usually only done if the other two have shown up significant levels of albumin.

When should these tests be done?
Guidelines given by the kidney and diabetic associations are as follows:-
1. When the patient is first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
2. Annually testing starting 5 years after diagnosis in Type 1 diabetics.
3. Type 2's under the age of 70 and type 1's over the age of 12 should be screened annually.

Results.
These can vary depending on a number of factors, such as:-
1. The lab they are processed in.
2. When the urine sample was taken.
3. Your gender - male or female
4. Your active state.

Generalisations are:-
Normal: random (spot) urine sample - Less than 30 micrograms of protein per milligram of creatinine
Normal: 4-hour timed urine sample - Less than 30 mg of protein per 24 hours
Normal: 24-hour urine sample - 30-165 milligrams (mg) of protein per 24 hours

Increased values indicate kidney damage, possibly due to diabetes. A diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy will require 2 or 3 abnormal urine samples within a 3- to 6-month period as the amount of albumin leaked into the urine varies.

If you get a result of more than 300 mg of protein in 24 hours then you have gone from microalbuminuria to macroalbuminuria and that means you have serious kidney damage.

Factors which can cause inaccurate results:-
1. Hyperglycaemia (High blood sugar levels)
2. Hypertension -high blood pressure
3. Urinary tract infections
4. High fever
5. Heart failure
6. Exercise
7. Menstrual bleeding and vaginal discharge
8. Medications - aspirin, antibiotics, corticosteroids.

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