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Protein in Urine – Is it Dangerous?

Each and every one of us have protein in our blood. However, experiencing protein in urine can signify a health problem.

Proteins play vital roles in your body. For instance, they give strength and structure to your bones and muscles, prevent infections, and control fluid distribution.

In a healthy individual, kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from the body. But proteins and other important nutrients should flow back into your blood stream. After all, your body needs these to continue functioning properly.

The most common protein that can escape from the body is albumin. Albumin is a protein that, when not around, causes fluids to build up within tissues – a condition known as edema.

Who Gets Protein in Urine? 

Proteinuria

Anyone can experience this symptom. It doesn’t discriminate against age or gender.

People who are at a greater risk include those with any one of the following risk factors:

  • Family history of kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Having any one of these risk factors can put you at a higher risk for developing this symptom.

In the following sections, we’ll talk more about what it is, how it’s diagnosed, and what you can do about it.

Proteinuria – How is it Diagnosed? 

albuminuria

The official term for this symptom is proteinuria. How will you know whether or not you have it?

The best way is to through a simple urine test. Your doctor will test the amount of albumin in your urine and compare it to the amount of creatinine (another waste product).

This is known as your “Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio” (UACR). If your UACR is greater than 30 milligrams/gram, then this is a potential sign of kidney problems.

As more and more albumin begins escaping in your urine, you might begin to experience the following:

  • Bubbles in urine (creating a foamy or frothy appearance)
  • Swelling in face, feet, and/or hands (due to edema)

Unfortunately, once these symptoms begin to manifest, it’s likely that your kidney damage is already quite severe.

You should definitely visit your doctor immediately to begin treatment. They’ll show you the best treatment options available for your particular medical situation.

What Causes Protein in Urine? 

As we mentioned earlier, the three major risk factors for proteinuria are diabetes, high blood pressure, and having a family history of kidney disease.

If you have these conditions, it’s extremely important that you keep them under control.

For example, if you diabetes, then make sure that you’re checking your sugar levels on a regular basis.

Get on an exercise plan and follow a proper diet. If you have high blood pressure, then your doctor can put you on blood pressure medication to keep it under control.

Limiting your intake of animal products can also help lower your blood pressure.

What type of medication will your doctor prescribe if you have high blood pressure? They’ll most likely give you an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE Inhibitor).

Taking care of your pre-existing conditions might help decrease the amount of protein in urine that you’re having.

How Often Should You Get Tested For Proteinuria? 

There’s no exact frequency to follow. You should be visiting your doctor regularly to make sure that your kidneys are functioning properly.

The earlier these symptoms are caught, the easier it will be to fix them. Aside from having albumin in urine, there are some additional symptoms to look out for:

  • Hiccups
  • Frequent Urination
  • Swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry skin
  • Trouble sleeping

How is a urine test done? It’s actually quite simple: your doctor will give you a clean cup to pee in. This is known as a “Specimen Cup”.

You won’t need to provide that much urine (only about 2-3 tablespoons). The urine can then be examined under a microscope and by using a dipstick.

Does Albuminuria Mean You Have Kidney Disease? 

Does having excess albumin in your urine mean that you have kidney disease?

Not necessarily.

However, it is an early sign of kidney disease, so you definitely want to talk to a doctor about it.

It’s possible that your albuminuria (just another way of saying proteinuria) is being caused by something simple like not drinking enough water.

If that’s the case, increasing your water intake might solve the problem.

If your doctor suspects kidney disease, then they’ll likely order a CT scan to get a clearer picture of the kidney.

The CT scan will show things like kidney stones and other potential problems. If the CT scan proves to be inconclusive, then a kidney biopsy might be in order.

This is when your doctor cuts out a small section of your kidney and analyzes it under a microscope.

Both of these tests will give you and your doctor a pretty good idea about whether or not your protein in urine is something serious, or whether it’s something that can be easily treated.

Conclusion 

Don’t panic if you’re experiencing this symptom. Lifestyle changes and medications can help decrease your chances of having kidney problems.

If you have diabetes and/or high blood pressure, go get your urine albumin levels checked regularly so that you can be one step ahead of the problem.

If you have any questions regarding this symptom, then leave them in the comments section below.

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