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Albumin is a protein that occurs in the blood stream. Normally, the kidneys filter it out of the urine, but when nephropathy (kidney disease) occurs, as a complication of diabetes, they can no longer do this, as well. This results in protein being abnormally present in the urine.
Microalbuminuria is the presence of minute amounts of protein in the urine. Regular testing for its presence is important, since it is one of the first indicators of early kidney disease.
Early treatment of nephropathy is important, as the kidneys impact not only waste filtration and removal, but also blood pressure. Early intervention can help to save kidney function.
For the person with Type 1 diabetes, screening should be done for microalbumin within 5 years of being diagnosed. For the person with Type II diabetes, this test should be done when they are diagnosed and then on a yearly basis.
Talk to your doctor about testing for microalbuminuria.