Albuminuria is considered to be a relevant biomarker for the detection of early glomerular damage in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Improvements in our understanding of the pathophysiological processes and molecular mechanisms underlying albuminuria are required, because increasing numbers of patients with SCD are developing chronic kidney disease. The early recognition of sickle cell nephropathy (SCN) and studies of the natural course of this emerging renal disease are therefore crucial, together with identification of the associated clinical and biological risk factors, to make it possible to initiate kidney-protective therapy at early stages of renal impairment. The pathophysiological process underlying SCN remains hypothetical, but chronic haemolysis-related endothelial dysfunction and the relative renal hypoxia triggered by repeated vaso-occlusive crises have been identified as two potential key factors. The optimal preventive and curative management of albuminuria in the context of SCD is yet to be established, but recent studies have suggested that hydroxyurea therapy, the cornerstone of SCD treatment, could play a key role in reducing albuminuria. The place of conventional kidney-protecting measures, such as renin–angiotensin system inhibitors, in the treatment of SCD patients also remains to be determined.