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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

The first sign of kidney damage is protein in the urine, which a doctor can measure in microscopic amounts, called microalbuminuria. Small amounts of albumin show up in the urine 5 to 10 years before major kidney damage happens.

If you have diabetes, your doctor will suggest regular monitoring of urine and blood tests to check the health of your kidneys.

Occasionally, a doctor may be concerned that kidney injury in a diabetic person is related to a separate problem. In that case, other tests such as ultrasound or a kidney biopsy may be recommended. In a biopsy, a small piece of kidney tissue is removed through a needle and examined in a laboratory.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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