The diabetes complication of microalbuminuria indicates considerable renal damage and an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Its treatment involves improving all aspects of diabetes management and targeting the microalbuminuria itself.
Confirmed microalbuminuria may be the first detectable sign of renal damage, well before glomerular filtration decreases and the plasma creatinine level increases, but it signifies considerable rather than minimal renal damage. The early signs of nephropathy are less obvious than those for retinopathy, where microaneurysms occur many years before the retinopathy progresses to proliferative diabetic retinopathy and its likely associated visual loss. Microalbuminuria is more like nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, which warns that visual function is threatened and should prompt close monitoring and early pre-emptive therapy. Microalbuminuria warns that renal function is threatened and the risk of cardiovascular events is considerably higher than the risk predicted by traditional risk factors.