Background. Microalbuminuria (MA) represents the earliest clinical evidence of diabetic nephropathy and is a predictor of increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of MA among diabetic patients in the Al-Ain district of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods. The study was part of a general cross-sectional survey carried out to assess the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) complications in Al-Ain district, UAE and was the first to assess the prevalence of MA among diabetic patients. A sample of 513 diabetic patients with a mean age of 53 years (SD: ± 13) was randomly selected during 2003/2004. All patients completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire and underwent medical assessment. First morning urine collections were obtained and were tested for clinical proteinuria using urine dipsticks and for MA using the single Micral-Test II strips. Results. MA was found in 61% (95% CI: 56.7-65.7) of the sample and the rate was significantly higher among males, positively related to body mass index (BMI), type 2 DM and presence of other DM complications such as diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy. Of the total sample population, 12.5% (95% CI: 8.1-14.1) had clinical proteinuria. Conclusion. The prevalence rate of MA was considerably high ( 61%) among diabetic patients in the UAE. Therefore, regular screening for MA is recommended for all diabetic patients, as early treatment is critical for reducing cardiovascular risks and slowing the progression to late stages of diabetic nephropathy (overt proteinuria and end-stage renal disease).
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