Proteinuria

What is proteinuria?

Healthy kidneys remove extra fluids, wastes, and minerals from the blood into the urine. When kidneys are unable to function normally and leak out a large amount of protein into the urine, proteinuria occurs. 

Different Kinds of Proteinuria

Transient proteinuria: 

This occurs due to temporary excretion of protein caused due to heavy workouts, high fever, severe cold other extreme illnesses. It is also seen in pregnant women. As this is temporarily caused, it requires no treatment. 

Orthostatic proteinuria: 

Also known as postural proteinuria caused when the patient is in an upright position or some rigorous activities. 

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If the total urinary protein excretion is above 1g per 24hours, it’s likely to be associated with renal disease. 

Patients who may not be having kidney issues may also develop proteinuria. Patients suffering from multiple myeloma, a plasma cells cancer in the bone marrow will release a large amount of protein into the urine. This condition is called overflow proteinuria.

Glomerulonephritis, primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis(FSGS) are types of proteinuria detected in patients with kidney disease or patients whose kidneys are damaged due to systemic disease. Microalbuminuria, a condition where a low albumin level in urine indicates that people with diabetes or hypertension may be in the early stages of kidney disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Proteinuria:

Many times, proteinuria does not show signs and can be detected during a routine health screening. Only when a large amount of protein is leaked out, swelling or edema can occur. Edema is seen in

  • Face and around the eyes
  • Arms, hands, legs, ankles, and feet
  • Abdomen

Sometimes symptoms occur as

  • Bubbly or Foamy urine
  • Weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Loss of appetite
  • high blood pressure.

Diagnosis of Proteinuria

Urine Analysis consists of many tests using urine. It shows the abnormal presence of cells and urinary casts, tiny tube-shaped particles, or indicates the primary stage of kidney damage.

A simple urine test called the urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) which is a part of routine health screening tells us the amount of albumin present in urine. A normal amount of albumin should be less than 30 mg/g or anything more than this means the patient has kidney disease. 

A Proteinuria blood test helps check the Serum creatinine, albumin, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels to help diagnose kidney damage.

Treatment for Proteinuria:

As Proteinuria is a symptom and not a disease, doctors treat the cause of proteinuria like regulating blood pressure in hypertension patients or managing blood sugar levels in diabetes people.

Nephrotic syndrome Patients are advised to curb salt intake and include low-protein food in their diet.

Doctors may treat with ACR inhibitors medicines initially to treat hypertension however, this also helps reduce proteinuria even if the patient may not have hypertension.

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