Proteinuria is confirmed, when the concentration of protein in urine is higher than the normal value. Abnormally high protein in urine is definitely a reason to worry about, as it signifies an early stage of kidney disease.
A urine test or urinalysis is a part of the regular medical checkup for healthy people. It is also suggested for diagnostic purposes, i.e., to rule out any suspected medical problems. There is a set of normal urinalysis values, which are used for comparing the test results. The parameters include glucose, protein, ketones, nitrites and leukocyte esterase. Concentrating on the protein content, presence of 10 mg protein per 100 ml of urine sample, or excretion of 150 mg urine protein per day is considered normal. A higher value than these is an indication of proteinuria.
The amount of protein in the urine of a healthy person is negligible. Proteinuria refers to an abnormal condition, in which the percentage of proteins released in urine is more than the recommended amount. To be precise, abnormally high concentration of proteins in the urine is called proteinuria. Since albumin is the chief protein type found in blood, it is present in higher amounts in the urine sample. Thus, the alternative medical terms for proteinuria condition are urine albumin and albuminuria.
Proteins are present in each and every part of the body. For the cells and tissues, they play a crucial role for cell building and repairing, whereas proteins in blood are also responsible for a number of bodily activities. They counteract the action of invading foreign particles, prevent infections and aid in blood clotting. In a healthy individual, the blood passes through the kidneys for filtration of waste materials. In this process, proteins and healthy nutrients are circulated back to the body, while the unwanted materials are excreted through urination.
The normal functioning of kidneys (specifically the filters, glomeruli) is imperative for proper filtration of bodily fluids. These complex filters help the body to reuse albumin and other proteins. Also, proteins being biomolecules, they are not easily filtered by the kidneys for releasing in urine. Hence, presence of too much protein is a concerning issue. It simply signifies that the glomeruli are not functioning normally as they should. Proteinuria is considered as an early sign of kidney disease, and further medical procedures are required for confirming the same.
What Causes Appearance of Protein in Urine?
The increased percentage of proteins in urine is a medical problem, which should be addressed at the earliest possible date. But, what causes proteins to leak in the urine? The root cause of high protein in urine is malfunctioning of the kidneys, thereby impairing the filtration mechanism of the glomeruli. But, this is not the exclusive cause of proteinuria. In fact, disorders in the urinary tract and cardiovascular system may affect the excretory organs and cause proteinuria. For your understanding, the probable proteinuria causes are enlisted below.
- Inflammatory disease of the glomeruli, a condition called glomerulonephritis. Over here, proteinuria is usually accompanied with less urine production and bloody urine.
- Diabetes characterized by elevated blood sugar level. What happens is, increased blood sugar puts pressure into the kidneys and result in high urine protein.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) is another prime cause for increased protein excretion in urine.
- Last but not the least, infections in the urinary tract organs or inflammation of the urinary tract are probable causes of proteinuria.
Proteinuria Symptoms and Treatment
Speaking more about proteinuria and its symptoms, there is no visible sign of this health condition. It is not a disease, but an indication of underlying problems. However, presence of proteins in significant amounts may result in bubbling or foamy urine. Another referred symptom of proteinuria is swelling of the face, hands, feet and remaining body parts. This occurs due to inability of the protein deprived blood to absorb bodily fluids. Frequent cases of edema are signals of progressing kidney disease.
Addressing proteinuria promptly is a must for every individual. If left untreated, excreted protein amount in urine will be higher, which is nothing, but worsening signs of kidney diseases. When the blood test results of an individual show proteinuria, the doctor will further run a series of diagnostic tests to identify suspected diseases. Testing for creatinine level in blood is performed to monitor the efficiency of kidneys in passing wastes. Kidney disease is confirmed, if blood creatinine is higher than the expected level.
The proteinuria treatment guidelines depend on the diagnostic test results. In case, a person is diagnosed with diabetes, the main objective is to maintain normal blood glucose level, and prevent it from increasing. Similarly hypertension patients should focus on controlling blood pressure within the normal levels. Bottom line is, the earlier proteinuria is addressed, the better will be the prognosis of kidney diseases and associated medical problems.