What is Albuminuria?

The Definition of Albuminuria and How it Relates to Diabetes

Urine Test
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Definition:

Albuminuria is a condition in which abnormal amounts of albumin are found in urine. It's also called proteinuria or urine albumin.

Pronunciation: al-BYOO-min-yur-ree-uh

Albumin is a protein in your blood plasma. When your kidneys are healthy, they filter waste out of your blood into your urine and leave albumin and other things your body needs in your blood. The kidneys use the glomerular membrane as a filter.

If albumin is found in the urine (albuminuria), it is an indicator of chronic kidney disease

What Causes Albuminuria

Your kidneys can be damaged by high blood pressure, diseases that inflame your kidneys or diabetes (high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage the glomeruli over time). If your kidneys are damaged, albumin can be excreted in your urine, instead of filtering through the kidneys.

What are the Risks of Albuminuria

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the first stage of damage to your kidneys marked by albuminuria. If left unchecked, CKD may progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). In this condition, the kidneys fail completely. A person with ESRD needs either a life-saving kidney transplant or ongoing dialysis. Dialysis is the process by which a person's blood is cleaned through an external filter.

How Do I Know if I Have Albuminuria?

A urine test is the main way to know if you have albuminuria.

Your urine may also look foamy if it contains abnormal amounts of protein. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes get their urine checked frequently.

How Is Albuminuria Treated?

If you have another condition that is causing albuminuria, the first step is going to be to manage that condition.

In the case of diabetes, that means getting your blood sugars in check. Depending on your plan of care, that will probably mean a combination of regularly self-testing your blood sugar, exercise, a medically-approved diet and taking your prescribed medications. If you have high blood pressure, but not diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medications to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range. 

How Can I Get More Information?

Talk to your doctor if you've been diagnosed with albuminuria. Remember, knowledge is power. If you know what conditions you have, you can actively work to manage them and make yourself more healthy. If you have diabetes, there's a lot to learn, but you're not alone.

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