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To assess the relationship of subclinical urinary albumin excretion with ambulatory and circadian variability of blood pressure.Patients with essential hypertension (82 males and 59 females, mean + SD age 38.9 ±7.3 years) who had never been previously treated for hypertension were included in the study. Patients with nephropathy or diabetes mellitus, hyperglycemia >120mg/dl, glomerular filtration rate <80ml/min per 1.73 m2, urinary tract infection and positive dipstick for albumin or glucose were excluded. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring on a regular working day using an oscillometric device was performed. Twenty-four-hour urinary albumin excretion was measured on two separate days using an immunonephelometric assay.Microalbuminuric patients (urinary albumin excretion 30–300 mg/24 h, n = 31) had significantly higher mean ambulatory systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) than those with normoalbuminuria (urinary albumin excretion <30 mg/24 h, n = 96) during the 24-h, daytime (0800–2200 h) and night (2400–0600 h) periods, whereas for office blood pressure only DBP was significantly higher. Urinary albumin excretion was positively correlated with the means of SBP and DBP. Multiple regression analysis similarly confirmed that DBP during daytime was positively and day: night ratio of DBP inversely associated with urinary albumin excretion independent of age, sex and other parameters of ambulatory blood pressure.In conclusion, the present study indicates that, in middle-aged essential hypertensive patients, the presence of microalbuminuria is a marker for the presence of higher values of blood pressure throughout a 24-h period.