Microalbuminuria in the US population: third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Am J Kidney Dis. 2002 Mar;39(3):445-59. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.2002.31388.


Microalbuminuria (MA) is associated with adverse health outcomes in diabetic and hypertensive adults. The prevalence and clinical significance of MA in nondiabetic populations is less clear. The purpose of this study was to generate national estimates of the prevalence of MA in the US population. Untimed urinary albumin concentrations (UACs) and creatinine concentrations were evaluated in a nationally representative sample of 22,244 participants aged 6 years and older. Persons with hematuria and menstruating or pregnant women were excluded from analysis. The percent prevalence of clinical proteinuria (UAC > or = 300 mg/L) was similar for males and females. However, the prevalence of MA (urinary albumin-creatinine ratio [ACR], 30 to 299 mg/g) was significantly lower in males (6.1%) compared with females (9.7%). MA prevalence was greater in children than young adults and increased continuously starting at 40 years of age. MA prevalence was greater in non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans aged 40 to 79 years compared with similar-aged non-Hispanic whites. MA prevalence was 28.8% in persons with previously diagnosed diabetes, 16.0% in those with hypertension, and 5.1% in those without diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or elevated serum creatinine levels. In adults aged 40+ years, after excluding persons with clinical proteinuria, albuminuria (defined as ACR > or = 30 mg/g) was independently associated with older age, non-Hispanic black and Mexican American ethnicity, diabetes, hypertension, and elevated serum creatinine concentration. MA is common, even among persons without diabetes or hypertension. Age, sex, race/ethnicity, and concomitant disease contribute to the variability of MA prevalence estimates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Albuminuria / epidemiology*
  • Albuminuria / ethnology
  • Child
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Proteinuria / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Creatinine