Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Albumin Urine Test
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. Finding it early may change treatment so a person will keep as much kidney function as possible.
Sometimes an albumin-creatinine ratio test is also done. This urine test compares the amount of albumin with the amount of a waste product called creatinine (say "kree-AT-uh-neen"). The test can help give a more accurate measure of albumin levels. This is because the amount of albumin can change, depending on how much water is in your urine. But creatinine levels tend to stay the same.
You do not need to do anything special to prepare for this test.
For a random urine test, you will provide a clean-catch midstream urine sample. A morning urine sample gives the best information about albumin levels.
A urine sample collected over time, such as over 4 or 24 hours, gives the most accurate results. So you may be asked to collect your urine over a specific time period.
This test does not cause any pain.
Collecting a urine sample does not cause problems.
An albumin test checks urine for the presence of a protein called albumin. This is called albuminuria. It is most often caused by kidney damage from diabetes. But many other conditions can lead to kidney damage.
These numbers are just a guide. The range for "normal" varies from lab to lab. Your lab may have a different range. Your lab report should show what range your lab uses for "normal." Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. So a number that is outside the normal range here may still be normal for you.
One-time collection (spot urine collection):
Less than 2 milligrams per liter (mg/L)footnote 1
Adults at rest: Less than 80 milligrams (mg) in 24 hours or 0.002–0.08 grams (g) per day footnote 2
Adults moving around: Less than 150 mg in 24 hours or less than 0.15 g per day footnote 2
10-hour (overnight) collection:
Less than 20 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for 10-hour (overnight) collection footnote 3
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.
You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Current as of:
August 12, 2019
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: August 12, 2019
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.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.