protein creatinine ratio

What is a urine protein creatinine ratio test?

A urine protein creatinine ratio (UPCR) test is a urine test. It measures the levels of protein and creatinine in your urine (pee). Creatinine is a waste product produced by your muscle cells as they use creatine (a natural chemical that gives your muscles energy).

When your kidneys work like they should, they filter waste products, including creatinine, out of your blood. They exit your body with your pee.

A UPCR test gives your healthcare provider important information about how your kidneys are working. The results of this test help your provider diagnose conditions that can cause kidney damage. UPCR is also used to monitor how well treatments are working. Depending on the results, your provider may recommend further tests or treatments.

When is a UPCR test performed?

Your provider orders this test to look for high levels of protein in your urine, a condition called proteinuria. It’s a symptom of kidney disease.

You may get a UPCR:

  • At a routine physical examination to screen for proteinuria.
  • During pregnancy, if you have signs of preeclampsia.

You may get a UPCR to diagnose or monitor kidney damage and kidney disease/chronic kidney disease if you have signs or symptoms of these conditions (such as abnormal lab test for serum creatinine).


How does a urine protein creatinine ratio test work?

Your kidneys are part of your urinary system. Normally functioning kidneys filter waste from your blood so the waste can leave your body with your pee. Your kidneys also filter some proteins, which are essential building blocks of your body.

Your kidneys send proteins back into your blood so they can do important jobs, like controlling the amount of fluid in your blood and fighting infection. Kidneys that don’t work properly have a hard time filtering proteins and sending them back into blood. Instead of getting reabsorbed into your blood, these proteins leak into your urine.

A UPCR test is a type of kidney function test. It detects kidney damage by measuring the amount of protein and creatinine in your urine. A UPCR test is accurate because it measures these two substances with one urine sample.

How do I prepare for a urine protein creatinine ratio test?

You don’t need to do anything to prepare for a UPCR test. At your provider’s office, they’ll ask you to urinate into a clean container.

Sometimes healthcare providers measure protein in your urine over a 24-hour period. This reduces the impact of variation throughout the day.

What should I expect after a UPCR test?

After collecting a urine sample, your healthcare provider either tests your urine in the office or sends it to a lab. The lab measures levels of protein and creatinine in your urine.

Your provider will contact you when the results are ready and discuss the next steps. It can take up to a week to get results if your provider sends the sample to a lab.

What are the benefits of a urine protein creatinine ratio test?

A UPCR test is noninvasive, quick and painless. Using a small amount of urine, this test helps your provider check for disease and disorders that affect how your kidneys are working. It also helps your provider monitor treatments for conditions that cause kidney damage.

Some other types of urine tests, such as the creatinine clearance test, only measure creatinine levels (not protein levels). This test requires you to collect all of your urine over a timed period (usually a 24-hour period) so a lab can measure the volume of urine produced over a specific length of time. Other tests, such as a urine protein test, only measure protein in your urine over a longer period of time, usually 24 hours.

Because a UPCR test measures both creatinine and protein levels, you only need to give one urine sample. A UPCR test is a convenient, reliable alternative to tests needing multiple samples.