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Kidney Diseases

Are my kidneys healthy?

08/01/2011

Question:

My urine microalbumin level is 52.3 microgram/ml.

I am not diabetic and not hypertensive.My blood creatinine level is normal.

My urine protein in negative.

I am a 36 year old female. Please advice as to whether my kidney is healthy. All other parameters such as blood creatinie, blood sugar, urine sugar are all fine. But only urine microalbumin level is little higher.

What do I infer from this?

Answer:

The urine microalbumin level by itself does not have much meaning.  We use a urine test called the microalbumin/creatinine ratio to detect very early signs of kidney damage in people who are at risk of developing kidney disease -- such as people with diabetes or hypertension.  Ordinarily, a urine microalbumin/creatinine ratio would not be ordered in a patient who is not diabetic and who has a normal creatinine and a normal dipstick urinalysis.  A dipstick urinalysis (the same one that measures urine sugar) also includes a test for urine protein, which is a better screening test for kidney disease. 

The urine microalbumin value tends to be higher in a person who has a concentrated urine (first thing in the morning, or after not drinking anything for several hours).  Unless your doctor had a specific reason for ordering this test, I would not worry about it (especially if the lab panel included a urine microalbumin/creatinine ratio, and if it is normal).  If your doctor had a specific reason for being concerned about your kidneys, he/she should order an imaging study such as an ultrasound.

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University