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Only traces of protein should be found in the urine of normal individuals. The presence of protein in the urine, particularly albumin, is a sign of kidney disease often caused by diabetes or hypertension. The earlier the kidney disease is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment will be. Microalbuminuria screening is a test that can detect very small amounts of protein in the urine before the routine urine protein result comes out positive. Microalbuminuria is most often measured on a single (spot) urine sample and results are expressed as milligrams of microalbumin per millimole of creatinine (mg/mmoll).

Clinical microalbuminuria is defined as a microalbumin result between 2 and 20 mg/mmol. A microalbumin level over 20 mg/mmol is consistent with frank albuminuria or frank proteinuria. A normal result is defined as any microalbumin level below 2 mg/mmol or the indication that microalbumin was undetectable (<5 mg/L).

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.