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High Protein in Urine

High Protein in Urine

High protein in urine is a condition which is also known as proteinuria. Read on to know all about the causes, diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
High protein in urine, also known as proteinuria or albuminuria, is a condition where there is high concentration of protein molecules found in the urine. Under normal circumstances, there shouldn't be much of protein in the urine, because the filtration mechanism of the kidneys is such, that it mostly allows the passage of glucose and blood plasma in the first phase of urine formation. In the second stage, that is, during reabsorption, even this plasma, glucose and excess water is reabsorbed back into the system. Thus, the presence of large amounts of protein in the urine is an indication that there is some kind of kidney disease, or an infection in some other part of the urinary tract.
Causes
  • Pyelonephritis is a condition that is caused due to bacterial infection of the kidneys. This disease is mostly an acute bacterial infection, which causes inflammation of the nephrons in the kidney, leading to proteinuria. This condition may also occur due to glomerulonephritis, which is the infection of the glomerulus of the nephron.
  • It can also occur in severe uncontrolled cases of diabetes. In both types of diabetes, that is, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the presence of albumin in urine is one of the first signs indicative of kidney functioning that is deteriorating.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure can lead to proteinuria if the blood pressure becomes so high, that the tiny arterioles entering the glomerulus rupture, leading to the presence of not only protein but also blood in urine. Gestational hypertension is often implicated in cases of proteinuria during pregnancy.
  • Infections like cystitis can also be contributory factors.
  • In some cases, exposure to heat or cold, fever, stress, certain drugs, pregnancy, or strenuous activities can also increase protein levels in urine temporarily.
Diagnosis
Affected individuals may pass cloudy urine, however, there are many different causes of the cloudy urine, a final diagnosis cannot be made solely on the basis of the urine being cloudy in nature. Hence, a test is carried out to check for the presence of albumin in urine. If a person is on certain drugs and medications that may interfere with the results, like methicillin, oxacillin, sulfonamides among others, then he is asked to temporarily discontinue taking these drugs. Then, after the urine sample is tested and the results are found to be positive, then the treatment plan is accordingly chalked out.
Treatment
The treatment will depend on the underlying condition present. If the malfunctioning of the kidney is due to the presence of a kidney infection, then it is extremely important that this condition be treated on a priority basis. This is mostly done with the help of oral, or in severe cases, strong intravenous antibiotics. These help to fight the infection in the kidney, thus, at least preventing any further irreversible renal damage. In cases of people suffering from diabetes, they need to first and foremost bring down their sugar level, as this not only helps substantially prevent any further kidney damage, but also decreases their susceptibility to any other opportunistic infection. People who are suffering from hypertension need to bring down their blood pressure with the help of a fruitful change in lifestyle, or by using hypertension medications.
Proteinuria is clearly a sign of a serious kidney disease, and hence, should be taken very seriously, lest it transgresses into irreversible kidney failure. Thus, this condition should be properly diagnosed and treated on a priority basis before it is too late.