Meaning Of Protein In Urine

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How Does Protein Enter Your Urine

Protein in my urine: Should I Worry?

Glomeruli are part of the filtration system of your kidneys which transport small molecules into the urine but not bigger proteins or blood. Ducts retrieve tiny proteins that pass through glomeruli and retain them in the body.

However, if the glomeruli or tubules are damaged, protein will flow into your urine instead of being reabsorbed by your blood

The amount of protein in your urine is measured by a urine test. Although a modest quantity of protein in your urine is acceptable, levels should not exceed 150 mg per day.

Although proteinuria may be an early symptom of kidney disease, your doctor may examine you again to rule out other factors such as dehydration. Three positive findings in three months or more indicate kidney disease.

What Are The Causes Of Pediatric Proteinuria

One of the functions of protein in the blood is to help balance the bodys fluid levels. When protein spills into the urine, it causes fluid to leak into the bodys tissues, which results in swelling.

Although proteinuria is often harmless and may result from stress, fever or exercise, it also can be a sign of a serious underlying kidney disease or a disease that started in another part of your childs body. Proteinuria also may be a sign of another condition, nephrotic syndrome, which may indicate an underlying kidney disease.The most common risk factors for proteinuria are diabetes and hypertension, or high blood pressure. Both of these diseases can cause kidney damage and proteinuria.

Risk factors include:

  • Family history of kidney disease
  • Kidney damage or disease

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Foamy Urine As A Sign Of Proteinuria

While foamy or frothy urine can be a sign of proteinuria, other factors can cause urine to be foamy on occasion. The foaminess should be persistent over time before considering other causes, like decreased kidney function.

If the kidneys have sustained only mild damage, proteinuria may be minimal to moderate, depending upon where in the kidney the damage has occurred. On the other hand, if the loss of kidney function is severe, proteinuria may be a contributor to nephrotic syndrome in which fluids and dyslipidemia present a more serious condition.

Symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include:

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Diabetes and hypertension are the top causes of kidney disease, so if you have these conditions, your treatment will include getting these under control. For diabetics, this can include managing blood sugar, taking medication, eating healthy, and exercising.

For people with hypertension, doctors may recommend medication as well as diet and lifestyle changes. People with hypertension and proteinuria are also advised that they should keep their blood pressure below 130/80 millimeters of mercury .

People with diabetes and kidney disease or hypertension and kidney disease are often prescribed medications, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers . These medications may also be prescribed to people with kidney disease who do not have diabetes or hypertension.

If kidney damage is permanent, patients may also require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

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Protein In Urine Levels & Types Of Proteinuria

Urine and its composition are important in a number of medical diagnostic procedures. Proteins are found in urine at varying levels. A protein in urine normal range is used as a standard against which all results are compared. The level of proteins in urine may temporarily rise due to diet, physical exertion and disease. Presence of unusually high levels of protein in urine is called Proteinuria or Albuminuria.

What Does It Mean To Have Proteinuria In The Urine

Proteins, which help build muscle and bone, control blood fluid levels, fight infection, and repair tissue, should be kept in the circulation. If they are not, these functions become impaired. The body’s response to this problem is to remove more protein from the blood into the urine.

Renal impairment can cause protein to leak out of your blood vessels and into your urine. This can lead to severe kidney disease if left untreated. Proteinuria is also seen with many other conditions, such as:

High blood pressure – In people with hypertension, there is increased demand on the kidneys to filter salt and water from the blood. This high demand can lead to chronic injury and scarring of the kidney tissues, which may result in proteinuria.

Diabetes mellitus- People with diabetes often have high levels of glucose in their blood. To reduce blood glucose levels, they must pass more sodium and water through their kidneys. This increased demand can lead to proteinuria.

Heart failure- With heart failure, the heart cannot pump enough blood into the circulatory system. This leads to fluid buildup in the legs and lungs. The kidneys respond by trying to eliminate more fluid via the urine.

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Why Your Doctor May Test For High Protein In Urine

Proteinuria, or protein in the urine, occurs when your kidneys arent functioning normally, allowing protein to leave your body through your urine. Kidneys with normal function filter toxins out of the blood, while keeping nutrients like protein circulating. Having too much protein in your urine can mean that your kidneys are filtering too much protein out of your bloodprotein that your body needs to build muscles and maintain strong bones.

Protein In Urine Treatment

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Proteinuria a sign of another illness. So treatment depends on figuring out what caused it. You might not need treatment if proteinuria is mild or lasts only a short time. But itâs crucial to treat kidney disease before it leads to kidney failure.

Your doctor might prescribe medication, especially if you have diabetes and/or high blood pressure. Most people will take one of two types of blood pressure medicine:

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How Is Protein In Urine Diagnosed

Testing for protein in urine is typically done via a test called a urinalysis. This simple urine test can detect protein levels in the urine and can be conducted in a doctors office. After your urine sample is collected, it is tested with a dipstick. When your urine has large amounts of protein, the strip of paper will change color. Technicians may also examine the sample via microscope.

If a urinalysis detects protein in the urine, your doctor will likely order an additional urine test or tests to determine if you have kidney disease. Your doctor may also conduct blood tests to measure your glomerular filtration rate , which can tell them how well your kidneys are filtering out waste, as well as other blood tests if needed to help identify the cause of the proteinuria. Additional tests may include an ultrasound, CT scan, or kidney biopsy.

When your urine is tested for protein, the test compares the amounts of albumin and creatinine, an amino acid, in your urine. A urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio higher than 30 milligrams per gram observed more than twice over a three-month period may indicate kidney disease.

If you get an abnormal result that detects protein in the urine, your doctor will also probably want to check your cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure to determine what conditions might be contributing to proteinuria.

Protein In Urine Diagnosis

A urine test called a urinalysis can tell whether you have too much protein in your pee. First, youâll pee into a cup. A lab technician will dip in a stick with chemicals on the end. If the stick changes color, itâs a sign of too much protein. You might need to have this test more than once to find out how long the protein is there.

The technician will also look at the pee under a microscope. Theyâre checking for things that shouldnât be there, which might mean kidney problems. These include red and white blood cells, crystals, and bacteria.

If your doctor suspects kidney disease, you might need to have other urine tests. Your doctor might also order:

  • Blood tests. These measure certain chemicals to check how well your kidneys are working.
  • Imaging tests. CT scans and ultrasounds can spot kidney stones, tumors, or other blockages.
  • A kidney biopsy. Your doctor might need to take a small sample of kidney tissue so a lab technician can look at it under a microscope.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

It can be difficult to know when it’s time to see a healthcare provider about proteinuria because the symptoms are often so vague . Even if you have foamy urine, you might figure that it was “something you ate” if you are otherwise feeling healthy.

And, that can be a problem. Because not only is proteinuria an indication that you may have kidney disease, it is often a sign that kidney disease is advancing and becoming more serious.

To this end, you need to seek immediate medical care if you experience the following:

  • Gradually diminishing urine output
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
  • Extreme tiredness or weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat

These are common signs of kidney failure, a condition in which the kidney function has dropped so severely that you may require hospitalization to avoid illness or death.

This is especially true if the symptoms develop over the span of several hours or days. Without treatment, kidney failure is associated with a high risk of death.

What Is The Difference Between Proteinuria And Transient Proteinuria

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Transient proteinuria is temporary. Causes typically include intense exercise, stress, fever and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Transient proteinuria usually goes away on its own.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Proteinuria is high levels of protein in your pee. If you have proteinuria, you may have to pee more often, and your pee may be foamy or bubbly. You may have general feelings of illness, including nausea, vomiting, tiredness and swelling. If you have any of these symptoms for more than a few days, its a good idea to reach out to your healthcare provider. They can help you diagnose a condition thats causing your proteinuria and prescribe treatments that help keep your kidneys healthy.

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Is Protein In Urine Serious

Yes, protein in your urine is serious. Proteinuria may increase your risk of death from heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

Occasionally, proteinuria is an early sign of chronic kidney disease , although you can have CKD and have normal levels of protein in your urine. CKD is a gradual loss of your kidney functions, which may eventually require a kidney replacement therapy, dialysis or kidney transplant. Diabetes and high blood pressure pressure can damage your kidneys. Theyre the two most common causes of kidney disease.

How Will I Know If I Have Protein In My Urine

The only way to know if you have protein in your urine is to have a urine test. The test will measure the levels of protein in your urine.

The name of the urine test that measures the level of albumin in your urine is called the urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio . A UACR compares the level of albumin to the level of creatinine . A normal UACR is less than 30mg/g. If your UACR is 30 mg/g or higher, it can be a sign of kidney disease, and you should ask your doctor if you should have other tests of kidney disease.

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What Do The Results Mean

If a large amount of protein is found in your urine sample, it doesn’t always mean that you have a medical problem that needs treatment. Strenuous exercise, dehydration, diet, stress, pregnancy, and other conditions can cause a temporary rise in urine protein levels.

Your provider may recommend other urinalysis tests to see whether you continue to have a high level of protein in your urine over time. If your urine protein remains high, it is likely a sign of kidney disease or kidney damage from other conditions.

The amount of protein in your urine is linked to the amount of kidney damage you may have. But you will need more tests to diagnose what is causing the damage. To learn what your results mean, talk with your provider.

Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

How The Test Is Performed

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After you provide a urine sample, it is tested. The health care provider uses a dipstick made with a color-sensitive pad. The color on the dipstick tells the provider the level of protein in your urine.

If needed, your provider may ask you to collect your urine at home over 24 hours. Your provider will tell you how to do this. Follow instructions exactly so that the results are accurate.

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Protein In The Urine Is Not Just An Effect Of Ckd It Could Be A Cause

Now we know that proteinuria indicates damage to the kidney’s filter, and hence CKD. But if protein in the urine is just another downstream effect of kidney disease, then why do nephrologists make so much fuss about treating it?

Protein in the urine is not just another consequence of CKD, it directly makes kidney disease worse. It leads to further kidney damage, which leads to even more protein in the urine. It might start off as an effect, but it soon becomes the cause as well. Protein is not just a sign of the problem, it is the problem.

Let us look at the evidence to support the above conclusion. A lot of research has been done on this, and today, minimizing proteinuria is a valid “target” for retarding the progression of CKD.

A key factor in the progression of kidney disease is elevated pressure inside the kidney’s filter, the glomerulus. This is called intraglomerular hypertension. This leads to elevated filtration rate in the initial stages of kidney disease. Over the short term, this might help the kidney numbers “look pretty.” In the long run, it is actually maladaptive and GFR drops and is the reason for scar tissue formation is many kinds of CKD, e.g., diabetic kidney disease.

Protein in the urine makes intraglomerular hypertension worse. And so we have medical evidence that indicates that untreated proteinuria significantly increases the chances of your kidney disease progressing to failure .

What Is Being Tested

Urine protein tests detect and/or measure protein being released into the urine. Normal urine protein elimination is less than 150 mg/day and less than 30 mg of albumin/day. Elevated levels may be seen temporarily with conditions such as infections, stress, pregnancy, diet, cold exposure, or heavy exercise. Persistent protein in the urine suggests possible kidney damage or some other condition that requires additional testing to determine the cause.

There are several different kinds of urine protein tests, including:

  • A semi-quantitative protein dipstick may be performed as part of a urinalysis, generally on a random urine sample.
  • The quantity of protein in a 24-hour urine sample may be measured and reported as the amount of protein released per 24 hours.
  • The amount of protein in a random urine sample may be measured along with urine creatinine and reported as the ratio of urine protein to creatinine .

Creatinine, a byproduct of muscle metabolism, is normally released into the urine at a constant rate. When both a urine creatinine and a random urine protein test are performed, the resulting protein/creatinine ratio approaches the accuracy of the 24-hour urine protein test. Since saving all of the urine for 24 hours can be cumbersome for adults and difficult for infants and children, a random urine protein to creatinine ratio is sometimes substituted for a 24-hour urine protein sample.

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Testing For Protein In Urine

The only way to diagnose proteinuria is through a urine test, which measures the amount of protein in your urine.

The test takes place in a doctors office. During the procedure, you urinate into a specimen cup. The doctor places a dipstick, or a small plastic stick coated with chemicals, into the urine sample. If it has too much protein, the stick will change color.

The rest of the urine will be sent to a lab, where it will be examined under a microscope.

If the doctor thinks you have kidney concerns, theyll repeat the urine test three times in 3 months. This helps them rule out temporary causes of proteinuria.

A doctor might also use the following tests to determine whats causing your proteinuria:

  • 24-hour urine protein test. In this test, the doctor collects multiple urine samples over 1 day and sends them to a lab.

Urine Protein And Urine Protein To Creatinine Ratio

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