Proteinuria is an abnormal amount of protein in the urine. While waste products are filtered out of the blood to leave the body through the urine, protein is essential in protecting the body against infection and ensuring proper fluid circulation. When protein is found in the urine, it may be a sign of chronic kidney disease.
Causes of Proteinuria
Proteinuria tends to occur in patients with diabetes, hypertension or a family history of proteinuria. Other people that may have a higher risk of developing proteinuria include those that are:
- African American
- American Indian
People who are obese may also be more susceptible to developing proteinuria.
Symptoms of Proteinuria
Early stages of proteinuria do not often produce any symptoms, but patients with large amounts of protein may notice the following symptoms:
- Swelling in the hands, feet and face
- Urine that appears foamy
Because of its potential implications and lack of symptoms, patients at risk for kidney disease should be tested on a regular basis.
Diagnosis of Proteinuria
Albumin is the main protein that is present in the blood. Proteinuria can be diagnosed through a simple urine test that compares the amount of albumin in the urine with the amount of creatinine, which is used to measure kidney function. The test is used to determine if these levels are off balance. Laboratory testing is the only way to detect excessive protein before extensive kidney damage has occurred.
Treatment of Proteinuria
Treatment for proteinuria involves managing blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which may be achieved with the following methods:
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Prescribed medication for diabetes and high blood pressure
A doctor may also prescribe medication to control swelling of the kidneys that may lead to proteinuria. Treatment may be required over a long period of time, depending on the severity of each patient's individual condition.