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What is the significance of a microalbumin test?

Q: I am a 46 years old diabetic patient and my blood sugar is 160 (PP). When I was in the hospital, the lab person advised me to do a microalbumin test, which was 1+. Please advise what does this test signify? What precautions should I take? Please advise if I should go for another test?

A:The presence of proteins in urine (proteinuria) is abnormal as most proteins are too large to pass through the filtering unit of the kidney. When kidneys are damaged, proteins of various sizes pass through them and are excreted in the urine and their level in the urine increases with progressive damage to the kidney. Albumin is one such protein and as it is relatively small in size, it is the first protein to enter the urine following kidney damage (albuminuria). The presence of small amounts of albumin (30-150 mg in 24 hours urine) is called micro albuminuria, as routine urine tests cannot detect it. Its presence signifies minor or early kidney damage. Micro albuminuria may be seen in kidney disease secondary to diabetes or hypertension, early cardiac disease, endothelial dysfunction etc. You are a known diabetic and the presence of micro albuminuria suggests kidney damage. Please consult your treating doctor immediately who will advise you.

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