Also Known As
Urine microalbumin
Formal Name
Urine Albumin; Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio
This article was last reviewed on
This article waslast modified on
6 February 2018.
At a Glance
Why Get Tested?

To be screened for the early detection of kidney disease occurring as a complication of diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure)

When To Get Tested?

Annually after a diagnosis of diabetes or hypertension

Sample Required?

A urine sample

Test Preparation Needed?

None

On average it takes 7 working days for the blood test results to come back from the hospital, depending on the exact tests requested. Some specialist test results may take longer, if samples have to be sent to a reference (specialist) laboratory. The X-ray & scan results may take longer. If you are registered to use the online services of your local practice, you will be able to access your results online.

If the doctor wants to see you about the result(s), you will be offered an appointment. If you are concerned about your test results, you will need to arrange an appointment with your doctor so that all relevant information including age, ethnicity, health history, signs and symptoms, laboratory and other procedures (radiology, endoscopy, etc.), can be considered.

Lab Tests Online-UK is an educational website designed to provide patients and carers with information on laboratory tests used in medical care. We are not a laboratory and are unable to comment on an individual's health and treatment.

Reference ranges are dependent on many factors, including patient age, gender, sample population, and test method, and numeric test results can have different meanings in different laboratories.

For these reasons, you will not find reference ranges for the majority of tests described on this web site. The lab report containing your test results should include the relevant reference range for your test(s). Please consult your doctor or the laboratory that performed the test(s) to obtain the reference range if you do not have the lab report.

For more information on reference ranges, please read Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

What is being tested?

Albumin is a protein that is present in large amounts in the blood. When the kidneys are working properly, only tiny amounts of albumin pass from the bloodstream into the urine. In kidney failure (the last stage of a slow process of decline in kidney function) large amounts of protein leak into the urine. A long time before this amount of damage, small changes in the blood-filtering parts of the kidney allow very small, but abnormal amounts of albumin to leak through, often as a result of having diabetes. Too little albumin is present to be detected by the usual simple urinalysis with a test strip (sometimes called a protein dipstick). This condition used to be termed microalbuminuria because of the low but significant concentration of albumin in the urine, not because it is a smaller type of the protein; however this term has been abandoned because it can be confusing. It is now simply called albuminuria.

How is the sample collected for testing?

You will be asked to collect either an early morning or random sample of urine in which albumin and creatinine will be measured by sensitive methods. The measurements are expressed as an albumin/creatinine ratio or ACR for short. The use of this ratio allows the albumin concentration to be related to the dilution of urine (as indicated by the creatinine concentration) which can depend on how much fluid you have consumed that day. ACR measurement in random urine samples has been shown to be just as good as the measurement of albumin alone in 24 hour urine samples and is much more convenient for the person being tested.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

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