Proteinuria: Causes, Symptoms, Tests & Treatment
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The kidneys’ function of filtering the blood helps to maintain your overall health.
The glomeruli are tiny blood veins that can be found in the kidneys. Glomeruli are responsible for the removal of waste, which is then excreted in the urine, as well as the reabsorption of protein, which is then retained in the blood.
Protein can seep into your urine if your kidneys aren’t working as they should, so keep an eye on that. Proteinuria, often known as high levels of protein in the urine, is the condition that develops as a consequence of this.
The following are some of the various forms of proteinuria:
The most typical form of proteinuria is called glomerular proteinuria. One form of glomerular proteinuria is known as albuminuria, which refers to an abnormally high level of the protein albumin.
Proteinuria may be caused by situations that are just transient, such as dehydration, or by damage to the kidneys that is more severe. Proteinuria has a variety of potential causes, which we will investigate in this article, along with its symptoms and therapy.
What causes urine to include protein
If you have proteinuria, pay attention to any additional symptoms you may be experiencing. They might be able to assist the physician in determining the underlying cause.
Dehydration occurs when an excessive amount of fluid is lost from the body. Proteinuria can be brought on by this common and transient underlying cause.
The kidneys are supplied with nutrients, such as proteins, by your body through the medium of water. Without an adequate amount of fluid, it will be impossible for it to supply the nutrients. As a consequence, the kidneys are unable to effectively reabsorb proteins. Instead of being absorbed, the protein is eliminated in the urine.
The intensity of dehydration also has a role in the manifestation of other proteinuria symptoms. You may experience:
increased need to drink
reduced frequency of urination
mouth or skin that is dry
Causes of dehydration include the following:
high levels of perspiration
not drinking enough water
Unhealthy levels of blood pressure
Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, can cause the blood vessels in the kidneys to become more fragile. Because of this, their capacity to reabsorb protein is reduced, resulting in increased protein excretion in the urine.
Due to the sluggish nature of the progression of high blood pressure, you could not experience any symptoms for years. If it gets bad enough, it might give you headaches, make it hard for you to breathe, or cause nosebleeds.
The majority of people who have hypertension do not have a discernible reason why they have it. The following factors can contribute to high blood pressure in some individuals:
obstructive sleep apnea
tumors of the adrenal glands
some pharmaceuticals, including those used for birth control and decongestants
The metabolic condition known as diabetes mellitus is responsible for high levels of sugar in the blood. There are several different forms of diabetes, the most common of which are types 1 and 2.
A high level of blood sugar, as seen in diabetes, compels the kidneys to do an excessive amount of blood filtration. This can cause damage to the kidneys, which therefore allows the protein to be lost through the urine.
The manifestations of diabetes change according to the severity and kind of the disease. You may experience:
increased need for water and appetite
eyesight that is hazy
loss of weight for no apparent reason
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Proteinuria is often a symptom of glomerulonephritis, which is an inflammation of the glomeruli.
In a normal process, the glomeruli will reabsorb protein whenever they filter blood. Protein can leak through damaged glomeruli and into the urine if the glomeruli are not functioning properly.
Nephrotic syndrome is a collection of symptoms that can be brought on by glomerulonephritis. Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms in addition to proteinuria:
hyperlipidemia, often known as excessive amounts of cholesterol and fat in the blood
swelling feet, legs, or ankles
hypoalbuminemia, also known as low amounts of blood protein
Hematuria, often known as red blood cells in the urine, is another symptom that may be caused by glomerulonephritis. A sign of hematuria is urine that is pink or the color of cola.
In most cases, glomerulonephritis is brought on by an attack by the body’s immune system against the kidneys. It’s been linked to the following:
hepatitis B virus
hepatitis C virus
Nephropathy caused by diabetes
hypertension; high blood pressure
Kidney illness that persists over time (CKD)
Chronic kidney disease, often known as CKD, refers to the gradual impairment of kidney function. In its early stages, it may be associated with proteinuria, but it typically does not cause any other symptoms that are easily recognizable.
As CKD advances, you might experience:
a feeling of difficulty breathing
dry, itching skin
hands and feet that are swollen
a lack of hunger
The following illnesses can cause damage to the kidneys, which can then lead to chronic kidney disease:
coronary artery disease
hypertension; high blood pressure
Nephritis of the interstitial kind
disorder characterised by the presence of polycystic kidneys
persistent infection of the kidneys
Kidney failure is a potential outcome of CKD if it is allowed to proceed.
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Antibodies often referred to as immunoglobulins, are typically produced by the immune system in order to combat harmful alien pathogens. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, your immune system will produce antibodies that will then assault the tissues of your body. Autoantibodies are the name given to these compounds.
Inflammation may manifest itself if the autoantibodies cause damage to the glomeruli. This causes damage to the kidneys, which ultimately results in proteinuria.
Proteinuria is linked to several autoimmune illnesses, including the ones listed below:
SLE is short for “systemic lupus erythematosus” (SLE). Even though the skin and joints are the most common sites of involvement for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the kidneys are also at risk.
The syndrome of good pasture. The kidneys and lungs are the organs that are targeted directly by the autoantibodies in Goodpasture syndrome.
Nephropathy is caused by IgA. IgA nephropathy is characterized by the accumulation of immunoglobulin A deposits in the glomeruli of the kidney.
At 20 weeks of pregnancy or later, a pregnant woman may develop preeclampsia, which is characterized by elevated blood pressure. Proteinuria is the result of the kidneys’ temporarily impaired ability to filter protein, which leads to the condition.
Additional preeclampsia symptoms include the following:
hands and face puffy with swelling
eyesight that is hazy
discomfort on the right side of the abdomen
gained far more weight
Even though preeclampsia typically resolves itself after delivery, the illness is still a significant one that might result in premature birth. Patients diagnosed with preeclampsia need to have their condition closely monitored.
Proteinuria can be a symptom of more serious conditions, such as cancer. There is a correlation between high urine protein levels and several different forms of cancer, including the following:
kidney cell carcinoma
cancer of the breast
lymphoma other than Hodgkin’s disease
Lymphoma of the Hodgkin type
It is hypothesized that the inflammatory effect of cancer can change the function of the kidneys.
In certain situations, such as multiple myeloma, kidney damage can occur when abnormal proteins in the blood bind with normal proteins in the urine. This can also happen in other conditions. When kidney function is impaired, an increased amount of protein is excreted in the urine.
Cancer manifests itself in a wide variety of ways, however, some common symptoms are as follows:
loss of weight for no apparent reason
Other sources of protein in the urine include the following:
a disorder that has an effect on the tubules of the kidney
irritation of the urinary system, which may develop as a consequence of a condition such as an infection of the urinary tract or a tumor.
an excessive amount of some proteins being produced
Signs that there is a protein in the urine
When the kidney injury is still in its early stages, you won’t experience any symptoms. Your urine contains just trace amounts of protein, which explains why this is the case.
Your urine will contain a greater quantity of protein if the kidney injury gets worse. It’s possible that this will result in symptoms like:
pee that is frothy and foamy
swollen extremities or organs, particularly in the face, hands, or stomach
nighttime spasms of the muscles
a lack of hunger
The treatment of urine containing protein
If your proteinuria is only minor or only transient, you probably won’t require any therapy for it. You will need to treat the underlying issue if you have protein in your urine on a consistent basis.
The following treatments might be used:
Alterations to one’s diet Whether you suffer from kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, a doctor will advise you to make certain adjustments to your diet.
Weight control. You may find it easier to treat disorders that compromise kidney function if you keep your weight at a healthy, moderate level.
Medication for treating high blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend medication to assist lower your blood pressure if you have diabetes or high blood pressure and want to lower your blood pressure. Investigate whether or whether there is a link between diabetes and high blood pressure.
Medication to treat diabetes To assist you in controlling your high blood sugar, you can benefit from insulin therapy or medication.
Dialysis. Dialysis is used to assist in the management of high blood pressure and fluid imbalances in patients who suffer from glomerulonephritis and kidney failure.
Possible causes of the presence of protein in the urine
In general, individuals of African, Hispanic, Latin, Native American, and Asian origin are more likely to suffer from renal diseases.
Proteinuria is more likely to occur in certain types of persons. The following are examples of common risk factors:
Age. Dehydration and kidney problems are two conditions that are increasingly common in people of advanced age. Preeclampsia is more likely to occur in women over the age of 40 who are pregnant.
Elevated levels of blood pressure. People who have high blood pressure have a greater chance of having diabetes and kidney diseases than those who don’t have the condition.
Diabetes. Diabetes is by far the most frequent factor in the development of CKD. Additionally, preeclampsia and glomerulonephritis have been linked to this condition.
The past of the family. If you have a history of kidney illness or preeclampsia in your family, you have a greater chance of developing proteinuria yourself.
A higher body weight. Being overweight or obese is linked to a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and preeclampsia.
Examining the urine for the presence of protein
A urine test is a sole method that can identify proteinuria. This test measures the amount of protein that is present in the patient’s urine.
The examination will take place in the physician’s office. You will need to urinate into a specimen cup while the operation is being performed. The urine sample is then dipped with a dipstick, which is a thin stick made of plastic that has been coated with several substances. The color of the stick will alter if it contains an excessive amount of protein.
The remaining sample of urine is going to be analyzed in a laboratory using a microscope after it is sent there.
If the doctor is concerned about your kidneys, they will perform the urine test three more times over the course of three months. This enables them to eliminate potential causes of proteinuria that are only transient.
The following diagnostic procedures may also be utilized by a medical professional in order to ascertain the source of your proteinuria:
24-hour urine protein test. During this test, the physician will take many urine samples over the course of one day and then send them off to be analyzed at a laboratory.
Glomerular filtrate rate (GMR) blood test. Your kidney function will be evaluated with this test.
Imaging testing. There is a possibility that you will undergo an ultrasound or a CT scan, both of which capture in-depth images of your kidneys and urinary tract.
Kidney biopsy. A kidney biopsy involves the removal of a tissue sample from one of your kidneys for the purpose of determining whether or not your kidneys have been damaged.
Because proteinuria can be a transient condition, some persons diagnosed with the condition won’t need therapy.
Proteinuria, on the other hand, is frequently an indication that your kidneys are not filtering blood as they should be. As a result, the purpose of treatment is to treat and manage any underlying diseases that the patient may have.
Your physician can, if necessary, devise a treatment plan that will assist in protecting your kidneys and reducing any symptoms that are associated with this condition.