It is a test that looks for the presence of albumin in your urine. Albumin is a type of protein that is normally found in the blood. Your body needs protein. It is an important nutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and fight infection. But protein should be in your blood, not your urine.
If your kidneys are damaged, protein can “leak” out of the kidneys into your urine. Having protein in your urine is called “albuminuria” or “proteinuria.” This might be an early sign of kidney disease.
A simple urine test can be done in your doctor’s office. You will be asked to pee into a clean cup called a “specimen cup.” Only a small amount of your urine is needed (about two tablespoons) to do the test. Some of the urine is tested right away with a dipstick — a thin, plastic strip that is placed in the urine. The rest is examined under a microscope.
A negative test result means that there is no detectable amount of protein in the urine at the time of testing.
Protein in the urine may also be a warning sign of a serious condition. Typically, three positive urine samples over a period of time without other significant symptoms will often be followed up with additional tests, including 24-hour urine.
Persistent and/or an increased amount of protein in the urine may indicate kidney damage or disease. With kidney disease, the amount of protein present is generally associated with the severity of the damage. Increasing amounts of protein over time indicate increasing damage and decreasing kidney function.