A microalbumin test checks for small amounts of albumin in the urine. Microalbuminuria is the presence of a slightly high level of albumin in the urine, whereas macroalbuminuria is the presence of a very high level of albumin in the urine each day. Measuring albumin in the urine is essential for detecting the presence of kidney damage. The most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure (or hypertension) in the United States. Kidney damage may lead to kidney failure or disease. When kidney failure occurs, dialysis is generally necessary. However, by identifying kidney damage before it fails, doctors can slow the progression of any further damage & help preserve kidney function over the long term.
This article covers all the significant topics related to the microalbumin test such as the test cost, preparation for tests, risk factor, and how to get tested for a microalbumin test.
- What is albumin?
- What is a microalbumin test?
- Purpose of the microalbumin test
- How often do you need a microalbumin test?
- How should you prepare for this test?
- What happens during the test?
- Risks of this test
- What do the results mean?
- Provider locations
For our readers who are interested in knowing the microalbumin test cost beforehand, we begin with that section.
How much does the microalbumin test cost?
Microalbumin test costs range around $59 in different labs and facilities across the US. No prior appointment is required. You may compare the price and order tests online, or visit the nearest lab during lab business hours. You will get the results in your email in 2-3 business days after completing the procedure. Doctor consultation is also available for any kind of medical advice or further treatment.
The following table shows the microalbumin test provider and their price. You can know more and book the test now by clicking on the “Book Now” button. All the labs are certified and offer a network across the US.
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Microalbumin test cost with insurance
Many insurance companies in the U.S. cover all the vital tests. But the coverage offered by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare varies widely. Most of the health insurance policies cover microalbumin test costs. However, you are recommended to check if your health insurance policy covers the microalbumin test cost.
Our microalbumin testing providers don’t accept any kind of health insurance policy. However, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details viz the name of the test, code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is albumin?
Albumin is a protein the body uses for cell growth & to help repair tissues. It is found in large amounts in the bloodstream. And certain level in urine may be a sign of kidney damage. Kidneys do several functions including removing waste products from the blood and regulating the water fluid levels in your body. A (healthy) kidney will make sure that waste is filtered out from the body and the nutrients and proteins that are essential to your health like albumin, stay in your body.
Hence, it’s vitally important to make sure the kidneys are functioning properly so that albumin remains in the blood. When the kidneys are damaged, they may not be able to keep albumin in the blood, and it will start to spill into the urine. In this case, one may experience a condition known as albuminuria. Albuminuria means that the urine contains albumin. When the kidney damage gets worse, the level of albumin in the urine may increase.
What is a microalbumin test?
Microalbumin test – a urine test that measures the amount of albumin in the urine. And this test is used to detect early signs of kidney damage in people who are at risk of developing kidney disease. As microalbumin is the first detectable sign of early kidney disease people who are at risk of kidney disease may need to have a regular microalbumin test. You also may need a microalbumin test if you already know that you have kidney disease. Because it can help your doctor monitor the condition and see how it is responding to treatment.
You may also need a microalbumin test:
- When you are 65 or older with risk factors for heart or kidney disease
- Have family members who had or have kidney disease
Purpose of the microalbumin test
The purpose of the microalbumin test is to measure the amount of albumin in the urine. Generally, this test is used in conjunction with a creatinine test to provide an albumin-to-creatinine ratio. Creatinine is a normal waste product in the blood that the kidneys should remove. If kidney damage occurs, the creatinine levels in the urine decrease while albumin levels may increase.
Doctors may recommend a microalbumin test if they suspect the kidneys might be damaged or when a person is at risk for kidney damage. It’s important to get a test as early as possible when kidneys are damaged. However, the treatment may delay or even prevent kidney disease.
Your doctor may order the microalbumin test if you have diabetes and hypertension.
- Diabetes – As diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys, people with diabetes are recommended to get an annual microalbumin test. Doctors can use a microalbumin test to detect the damage. If you have diabetes and positive test results, the doctor should confirm the results via additional testing over a three- to six-month period. When doctors confirm you have kidney damage, they will treat the kidney injury and help improve & maintain your kidney function.
- High blood pressure – In case of high blood pressure, doctors may screen for kidney damage by using the microalbumin test. High blood pressure can also cause damage to the vessels of the kidney resulting in the release of albumin into the urine. Testing for albumin should occur at regular intervals.
How often do you need a microalbumin test?
Depending on the underlying conditions or the symptoms of kidney damage your doctor may decide how often you need a microalbumin test. Usually, the early stages of kidney damage show no symptoms. But, when kidney damage is extensive, urine may appear foamy. One may also experience swelling, or edema in the face, hands, feet, or abdomen.
How should you prepare for this test?
As this test is a simple urine test, there is no special preparation is necessary for this test. You can eat & drink normally before the test.
What happens during the test?
Several types of microalbumin urine tests are available:
- 24-hour urine test – The doctor may ask you to collect all of your urine for 24 hours. They will provide a container for urine collection that you must keep in the refrigerator. After collecting the urine for 24 hours, you need to return the sample to your healthcare provider for lab analysis.
- Random urine test – One can take the random urine test at any time. To improve the accuracy of the results doctors often combine it with a creatinine test. You have to collect the sample in a sterile cup and your doctor will send it to a laboratory for analysis.
- Timed urine test – The doctor will ask you to provide a urine sample first thing in the morning or after four hours of not urinating.
Risks of this test
As the microalbumin test only requires normal urination, it has no risks.
What do the results mean?
The test results are measured as milligrams (mg) of protein leakage in your urine over 24 hours.
- Less than 30 mg of protein is considered to be normal
- 30 to 300 mg of protein may indicate early kidney disease (microalbuminuria)
- More than 300 mg of protein may indicate more advanced kidney disease (macroalbuminuria)
It is important to note that labs test things a bit differently from each other. And not all bodies are the same, so the normal range for one person might not be normal for you. Doctors can help you understand what so the results mean.
Other temporary factors that can cause higher-than-normal urinary microalbumin results may include:
- Blood in your urine (hematuria)
- Recent vigorous exercise
- Urinary tract infection
- Other kidney diseases
Apart from these certain medications can also affect albumin levels in urine. It may include:
- Acetazolamide (Diamox Sequels)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin (Bufferin), and naproxen (Aleve)
- Antibiotics including penicillin, polymyxin B, aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, and sulfonamides
- Antifungal medications including griseofulvin (Gris-PEG) and amphotericin B (Abelcet)
- Lithium (medication to treat bipolar disorder)
- Phenazopyridine – Pyridium (medication to treat urinary tract pain)
- Tolbutamide (medication to treat diabetes)
When the results show a high level, the doctor will probably want to repeat the test. You are likely to do it a couple of times over the next 3 to 6 months. When two of three tests come back as high, it may indicate early kidney disease. And when the results are much higher than normal, it could be a sign of more advanced problems. However, a doctor will figure out what the results mean and what steps you can take.
The microalbumin test can be done in any of the following locations by visiting the lab near you. To know the microalbumin test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you with a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order any time before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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