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24-Hour Urine Protein

Does this test have other names?

24-hour albumin test, proteinuria test

What is this test?

This test measures the amount of protein in your urine.

Healthy kidneys usually filter protein out of the blood and then absorb the protein back into the blood while other waste material is passed out of your body as urine. But when your kidneys aren't working the way they should, protein may not be absorbed back into the blood. It then leaves your body in your urine. Protein in your urine is a condition called proteinuria, albuminuria, or microalbuminuria.

Many different chronic diseases, including kidney disease and diabetes, can cause protein in your urine. During pregnancy, protein in your urine can mean a very dangerous condition called preeclampsia, or very high blood pressure.

You may have this test after a dipstick urine protein test. That test needs only 1 urine sample that's collected at your healthcare provider's office.

Why do I need this test?

If you are pregnant, you may have this test as part of routine prenatal care to screen for preeclampsia.

You may also have this test if your healthcare provider thinks that you have protein in your urine. Proteinuria may not cause symptoms in the early stage. But as kidney function worsens, you may notice these symptoms:

  • Swollen face

  • Swelling in your hands or feet

  • Foamy urine

  • Higher level of blood creatinine

You may also need this test if you:

  • Are diabetic

  • Have high blood pressure

  • Have a family member who has chronic kidney disease

  • Are at risk for kidney disease

What other tests might I have along with this test?

You may also have a urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio test. This measures the ratio of protein to waste in your urine. You may have an ultrasound of your kidneys. And you may have other blood tests, such as antinuclear antibody or complement. These are done to check for conditions that cause kidney problems.

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

Results are given in milligrams (mg). Normal urine protein in adults is less than 150 mg within a 24-hour period.

How is this test done?

This test needs a 24-hour urine sample. For this sample, you must collect all your urine for 24 hours. Empty your bladder completely first thing in the morning without collecting it. Note the time. Then collect your urine every time you go to the bathroom over the next 24 hours. You will collect it in a container that your healthcare provider or the lab gives you.

Does this test pose any risks?

This test poses no known risks.

What might affect my test results?

Many different medicines may affect your test results. These include:

  • Antibiotics

  • Vitamin C supplements

  • Certain medicines used to treat Parkinson disease

Test results may also be affected by:

  • A fever or dehydration

  • A lot of exercise, severe stress, or exposure to cold temperatures just before the test 

  • Collecting too much or not enough urine

How do I get ready for this test?

You may need to skip exercising for a certain time before the test. Let your healthcare provider know if you have a fever or have been ill recently.

Your provider will tell you if you should not take certain medicines on the day of the test. Also be sure your provider knows about all the medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chad Haldeman-Englert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2020
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