The microalbumin blood test is designed to help a medical provider be able to detect if there are extremely small levels of this protein in the blood stream. The presence of microalbumin can be an early indicator that kidney damage has occurred or that an individual may have a higher than average risk of developing kidney disease.
Because the kidneys work to filter the wastes out of the blood so that only the needed components remain, any damage to them can cause good things to be filtered out and bad things left within the bloodstream. Microalbumin levels can be detected in early kidney damage because they tend to be the first proteins that are seen when the organs are not operating as they should.
It is not uncommon for a medical provider to order a urine test in conjunction with the microalbumin blood test. This is because the proteins can leak out into the urine even when the blood test may come back with a negative result. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, or risk factors of kidney disease may have this test ordered as a proactive screening method.
Why Is the Microalbumin Blood Test Ordered?
This test is ordered primarily to determine if there is early kidney disease or damage present. When kidney damage is detected in its early stages, it becomes possible to delay further damage, advanced kidney disease, and other health conditions. In some patients, early interventions can even help to prevent the development of kidney disease.
Some people may have the microalbumin blood test ordered on a regular basis. If either Type I or Type II diabetes has been diagnosed, then a test every year for at least 5 years after the diagnosis may be ordered to measure protein levels. Regular tests are also recommended for those with hypertension and the scheduling of the tests are based on the overall health of the patient.
There are not usually any instructions to follow before having this test, making it possible to eat and drink as one normally does. If a medical provider does provide specific instructions, however, it is important that they be followed accurately so that the microalbumin blood test results can be as accurate as possible.
What To Expect From the Microalbumin Blood Test
Unlike other blood tests that are one-time draws, the microalbumin blood test may occur in various stages. A blood sample that occurs first thing in the morning before eating anything may be requested. Some individuals may be asked to provide samples over multiple days. Random blood tests may also be ordered to track whether or not lifestyle habits may be contributing to the suspected conditions.
If urine samples are included with the blood test order, it is common for a medical provider to request that all urine be collected over a 24 hour period so that it can be submitted to a laboratory for testing. A request to not urinate for 4 hours may be requested as well and random urine tests are often requested. A creatinine test may also be ordered.
What Do My Test Results Mean?
It is possible to have proteins in your blood and urine and still have normal test results. Protein leakage or its long-term presence is based on a tiered system and each value is assigned a number that is generally measured in milligrams or units per liter. Every laboratory has a different system, so only a medical provider can interpret what specific test results mean for an individual’s medical history. In general terms, here is what to expect from the microalbumin test results.
A normal reading is anything that is below 30. Anything above this number indicates that there is the presence of kidney disease. If the number is below 300, then this generally indicates the presence of early stage kidney disease. Above 300 indicates that advanced kidney disease may be present.
Certain medical conditions may affect test results. This includes recent exercise, a urinary tract infection, a fever, or certain medication. For a urine test, the presence of blood in the urine may also affect results. Always speak with a medical provider about personal lifestyle habits that may affect test results so that those issues may be controlled so accurate results may be received.
Always consult with a medical provider about specific questions and concerns that microalbumin blood test results may generate. This above information should be used as general reference materials only.