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Proteinuria – What Does This Actually Mean and How Can Test Be Carried Out on Patients?

Protein has been discovered to be a body building block. It is needed in the human body for building of muscles as well as bones. This ensures that fluids circulate properly and also that infection is resisted. However, one of the major signs of kidney dysfunction is protein in urine. There are medical conditions that have also been traced to this problem.

Whenever blood seems to be passing through your kidneys, excess water and waste products get filtered out. Proteins seem very large when it comes to exiting the filter of kidneys into the urine. However, there will be leakage of protein albumin when the filters are damaged. Albuminuria or proteinuria is a situation whereby the amount of urine that is present in the kidney is abnormal.

There are medical conditions which can bring about damaged glomeruli. These could be hypertension and diabetes. It is possible for doctors to find out the extent to which the kidneys have been damaged. This can be done through having the amount of protein contained inside the urine measured.

What Can Bring About Protein In Urine?

There are various problems that can bring about protein in urine. Also, it is important to note that naturally or by default, there is little quantity of protein inside your urine. There will be higher levels on a temporary basis when you’ve experience the following.

  • Extreme cold temperatures
  • Fever
  • Too much stress
  • Exercising activities that are strenuous
  • Dehydration

Whenever there seems to be any trace of proteinuria inside your system, the protein levels will be monitored by your doctor. This is to check if they are consistently high. The essence is to check if you seem to be suffering from kidney disease.

If there is a very high chance that you can suffer from a kidney disease, a series of proteinuria will be carried out on you regularly by your doctor. Patients who seem to be very prone to experiencing protein in urine can suffer from some or any of the abnormal conditions below.

  • Sickle cell anaemia
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Preeclampsia
  • Orthostatic Proteinuria
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Malaria
  • Lupus
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Heart failure
  • Heart disease
  • Segmental glomerulosclerosis (focal)
  • Endocarditis
  • Berger’s disease
  • Amyloidosis
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes

People who are usually affected by proteinuria as well as kidney diseases are those whose families have got a track record of suffering from kidney diseases in the past. These could be Pacific Islander Americans, Hispanic-Americans, American Indians, aged people and African-Americans. Also, those who are overweight can be affected by these abnormal conditions.

Protein In Urine Symptoms You Need To Know

Initially, patients suffering from kidney dysfunction don’t usually know. This is because they may not even notice any of the symptoms. Such is why carrying out urine test is very important in order to have it detected very early. It is through such a test that any early sign of abnormal conditions affecting the kidney will be detected. Alongside proteinuria, kidney disease symptoms can be the following:

  • Poor concentration
  • Neusea or vomitting
  • Hiccups
  • Experiencing metallic taste inside the mouth
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Dry skin
  • Swollen hands, face and feet
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Urinating frequently
  • Breathing problems (shortness)
  • Frothy or foamy urine

For a pregnant woman, protein in their urine is also a sign that she is suffering from preeclampsia. This is an extremely dangerous medical condition where there is the risk of high blood pressure. It can bring about hospitalization. Furthermore, other preeclampsia signs are:

  • Breath issues (shortness)
  • Low output of urine
  • Nausea
  • Pains in the abdomen
  • Changes in vision
  • Headaches

Protein in Urine Diagnosis

In order to test whether there is protein in the urine of patients, urinalysis will be carried out. It is a test which majorly detects the level of protein in your urine. It can be carried out in the office of a doctor. The test is carried out with the use of a dipstick after the sample of the patient’s urine has been collected.

Once the amount of protein inside your urine is high, the color of the paper strip will change. The sample can also be examined by technicians through microscope.

Once protein is detected in the urine through urinalysis, more tests on the urine will be carried out by your doctor. The reason for this is to ascertain whether you are suffering from kidney disease. Blood test can also be conducted by your doctor. This is to ensure that your GFR (glomerular filtration rate) is measured. This is to determine the extent that wastes are being filtered out by your kidney.

Also, other blood tests may be carried out with a view to identifying proteinuria. These will be carried out if the occasion demands. Furthermore, other tests can be kidney biopsy, CT scan, or ultrasound.

Whenever test is carried for protein in the urine, such is to compare with the amount of creatinine and albumin inside the urine. At this point, the aim is to find out the level of UACR (urine albumin – to – creatinine ratio). Once it exceeds 30mg/g consistently for over 90 days (3 months), such is an indication that the patient is suffering from kidney disease.

Although high amount of protein can be detected by dipstick, it is very important that chemical analysis is performed. This is to ensure that amounts which are smaller are detected. They are referred to as microalbuminuria. Patients suffering from diabetes can be tested once or twice yearly in order to know whether they are suffering from microalbuminuria or not. This is because it can also indicate early signs of damage to the kidney as a result of diabetes. 

Microalbuminuria can also point to or indicate heart disease, blood cloth or high blood pressure. If you get any result which is abnormal showing that protein in urine has been detected, your doctor may want to ensure that your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels are checked. This is to determine the conditions that are bringing about proteinuria.  

Try to find out from a doctor if regular urinalysis testing will be required if you are suffering from an abnormal condition that can bring about kidney disease.

Proteinuria Treatment

Whenever a kidney problem or disease is diagnosed in your system, you are going to be referred to a nephrologist by your doctor. These doctors are specialized in the handling of kidney disease. The possible treatments will be recommended by such professional which may be change of lifestyle or medication. Most of the time, the recommended treatment will be based on medical conditions which have brought about such a problem.

It has been discovered that hypertension and diabetes are primary causes of kidney diseases. If you are suffering from diabetes, ensure that there is proper management of sugar intake, exercising regular, eating healthy and taking medications.

For those suffering from hypertension, a change of lifestyle or medication may be recommended by your doctor. Those suffering from hypertension and Proteinuria have been advised to ensure their blood pressure level doesn’t go beyond 130/80 mercury millimetres.

There are medications usually prescribed for the set of patients above such as ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) or angiotensin – converting enzyme inhibitors. Dialysis or kidney transplant may be required in situations of complete kidney damage.

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