What is Microalbumin?
Microalbumin is a protein manufactured by the liver. This type of protein is usually found in your blood and the kidney filters it. Too much albumin in your urine may indicate that your kidneys are damaged. It also elevates your risk of developing heart diseases3, 4.
Microalbumin Levels in Blood
Normally, when your kidneys are working properly, no albumin is found in your urine. However when your kidneys are damaged, small quantities of albumin leak into the urine leading to a condition known as microalbuminuria.
Microalbuminuria occurs mostly when your kidney is damaged due to diabetes. Other health conditions that may damage your kidney include: heart failure, high blood pressure, systemic lupus, etc. Damaged kidneys cannot filter blood properly and as a result large amounts of albumin may be present in your urine. This condition is known as macroalbuminuria1, 5.
High levels of albumin in your blood can be life-threatening. But with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, you can lower albumin level in your blood and lead a comfortable life.
Ways of Lowering Microalbumin in Your Blood
You can reduce microalbumin levels in your blood through the following:
Treating microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria involves testing albumin levels in your urine and using medications that lowers your blood pressure. The following are treatment options that can be done2, 5:
Go for microalbumin test
It is vital to track and monitor your microalbumin levels. This is useful because it helps you know whether your lifestyle is good or bad for the liver and kidneys. This can be done through a microalbumin test which determines the amount of albumin in your urine. Detecting albumin in the urine at an early stage is important so as to keep your kidneys and liver healthy. Microalbumin test is done by a health professional in a hospital.
The frequency of conducting a microalbumin test depends on your risk of kidney damage and underlying medical conditions. For instance:
- High blood pressure– Your health professional may request frequent microalbumin test for people with high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes- People with type 2 diabetes need microalbumin test once annually and this begins immediately after diagnosis.
- Type 1 diabetes- People with type 1 diabetes need microalbumin test once annually which starts after five years of diagnosis.
Preparing for Microalbumin Test
Microalbumin test is an easy test done on your urine. You can drink and eat normally prior to the test. The quantity of urine to be collected may vary basing on your health professional requirements. Your health professional may request you to collect a 24 hours urine sample or a random one.
During the test, you will provide either a 24 hour urine test which you collected over a period of 24 hours, timed urine which you collect either in the morning or after a certain period without urinating or random urine which you can take at anytime. The urine sample is taken to the laboratory for analysis. To enhance results, a urine test for creatinine is also done. Creatinine is waste product filtered by the kidney.
Microalbumin Test Results
Microalbumin test results are measured as milligrams of protein leakage over a period of 24 hours. Test results of less than 30 mg are normal, 30-300mg indicate kidney disease (microalbuminuria) while above 300 mg shows an advanced kidney disease (macroalbuminuria). You will discuss these results with your health professional.
There are several factors that may interfere with your test results such as
- Urinary tract infections
- Other kidney diseases
- High body temperature or fever
- Certain types of drugs
- Presence of blood in the urine, a condition known as hematuria
- Recent intense workout or exercises
There are some drugs you can use to help lower your blood pressure. They include angiotensin converting enzymes (ACE) inhibitors which prevent angiotensin I from being converted to angiotensin II thus lowering blood pressure. ACE drugs also reduce proteins from leaking into urine hence lowering microalbumin levels. Some of the ACE drugs that are mostly recommended include ramipril, captopril and enalapril.
Statin drugs can also be used to help lower cholesterol in your blood. These drugs work by blocking the action of an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase which manufactures cholesterol in the liver. Examples of statin drugs are pravastatin, atorvastatin and lovastatin.
Taking insulin may also help if you are diabetic. Insulin is a hormone that helps move glucose or sugar into the body cells to provide energy. Daily injection of insulin by diabetic people can help lower microalbumin level. For people who are normal, taking insulin will not help you reduce microalbumin level in the urine.
You can lower microalbumin levels by adjusting your lifestyle. The following lifestyle changes can help you reduce microalbumin levels in urine1, 4:
Check the level of glucose
It is important you minimize intake of food that are high in sugar so as to manage glucose levels, obesity, diabetes and lower microalbumin level in the urine. You can also reduce your blood glucose levels by exercising regularly.
Take a lot of water
Drinking enough water will help flush out some of the albumin in the urine. Those who sweat a lot and exercise more often should take more water to prevent dehydration. Dehydration will raise the level of microalbumin in your urine. There are some foods that absorb water in your system and make you dehydrated such as fatty and salty foods. You should avoid these foods so as to maintain your blood pressure and prevent dehydration.
High blood pressure can increase your albumin levels. High blood pressure is brought by many factors such as high cholesterol in your blood, obesity and physical inactiveness. You can lower your blood pressure by limiting intake of salt and fatty foods. You can also exercise regularly to keep your blood pressure at a lower level. You should check on your weight and go for regular blood pressure checkup to ensure you are okay.
Smoking is associated with increasing blood pressure. Nicotine, a chemical compound in cigarettes elevates blood pressure to 10mgHg. As a smoker, it is advisable you quit smoking gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Other lifestyle changes you should make include:
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Eat a healthy diet. Eat foods that are low in sugar, carbohydrates, fat and salt.
- Microalbumin. http://www.wikihow.com/Lower-Microalbumin
- Microalbumin. http://www.bioagilytix.com/biomarkers/microalbumin/
- Microalbumin. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/microalbumin/details/results/rsc-20169684