The kidneys are bean shaped, paired organs that are located below the rib cage, at the back on either side of the spine. Though kidneys perform a variety of functions that are essential for the healthy functioning of our body, filtering wastes from the blood and removing them in the form of urine, is certainly one of the primary functions of the kidneys. This is the reason why, analysis of the urine can provide insights regarding the condition of the kidneys.
The kidneys remove toxins and metabolic wastes along with the mineral salts as well as water that is in excess. If urine contains substances that are usually reabsorbed into the blood and not filtered out, it is indicative of kidney problems. Presence of high levels of albumin in the urine is also an indicator of malfunctioning of the kidneys. Albumin is a protein that facilitates the retention of fluid in blood, and under normal circumstances, it should not pass through glomeruli or the filters of the kidneys. Scroll down to find out about the circumstances under which albumin may be present in urine along with information on how to reduce albumin in urine.
Why Does Albumin Pass Through Glomeruli?
As mentioned earlier, albumin is a serum protein that is found in the blood plasma. It performs the vital function of regulating the fluid volume and the oncotic pressure of the blood. Since albumin has a negative electric charge and it is also large in size, a healthy kidney doesn't filter out albumin as a waste. If urinalysis reveals the presence of high amounts of albumin or another protein called immunoglobulin, one is diagnosed with proteinuria. Proteinuria refers to presence of protein in urine. Generally, protein may pass into urine if the filters of the kidneys may be inflamed or not are functioning properly due to renal diseases or other medical conditions. Those suffering from hypertension or diabetes are at an increased risk of having traces of albumin in urine (microalbuminuria). When the levels of albumin in the urine are quite high, one is said to suffer from macroalbuminuria. At times, elevated levels of albumin in blood could also be responsible for the presence of this protein in urine. It is therefore, essential that levels of albumin in blood plasma also be monitored along with the urinary albumin. Under normal circumstances, albumin concentration in urine must lie between 0-8 mg/dl. If urinalysis results reveal high levels of albumin, kidney function must be tested and steps should be taken to bring back albumin within the normal range.
How to Reduce the Concentration of Albumin in Urine
Traces of albumin in the urine can be detected with the help of a diagnostic test called microalbumin urine test. If albumin is present in urine, other diagnostic tests must be conducted to analyze the kidney function. Here are some tips that may help in lowering the levels of urinary albumin.
Maintain Blood Glucose Levels: As mentioned earlier, diabetes certainly puts one at an increased risk of developing kidney problems. It is therefore, essential that blood sugar levels be monitored at regular intervals. Those who have a family history of this disease must be very cautious. Traces of albumin protein in the urine is one of the most common early symptoms of kidney disease in diabetics. High blood glucose is bound to have an adverse impact on the filtering mechanism of the kidneys, which is why, proteins may pass into urine. Foamy urine and fluid retention are some of the symptoms that may appear due to kidney problems. The best way to treat this condition is to bring down the blood glucose levels to normal. Insulin therapy, drug therapy and dietary modifications may certainly help in normalizing the blood sugar levels.
Lower Blood Pressure: Hypertension is another condition that worsens the kidney function and if left untreated, could even cause kidney failure. This is the reason why, blood pressure must be controlled. Drug therapy coupled with lifestyle related changes can certainly help in lowering blood pressure. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, diuretics or calcium channel blockers are some of the drugs that are recommended for the treatment of high blood pressure. As far as diet-related changes are concerned, one may definitely benefit from cutting down on the intake of processed foods. One must also lower the intake of salt and refrain from consuming fried or fatty foods. Staying physically active will also lower blood pressure and promote good health.
Presence of albumin in the urine may sometimes be attributed to high albumin levels in blood, but usually, urine albumin is an indicator of kidney problems. Heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, kidney infections, urinary tract infection, dehydration, lupus erythematosus, amyloidosis, multiple myeloma or liver disease can also hamper the filtering mechanism of the kidneys. It is therefore, essential to have a thorough medical checkup for identifying the underlying cause of proteinuria and treating it soon. If the levels of albumin present in urine is beyond the normal range, tests must be conducted at regular intervals so as to analyze the kidney function. If detected at an early stage, drug therapy and lifestyle-related changes can help in slowing down the progression of kidney disease.