Protein in urine

Protein is an important nutrient that aids the effective functioning and development of the body and also the growth of muscles. The molecules of protein are generally larger in size and hence they cannot easily pass through the filtering system of the kidneys. Thus when the kidneys filter out the wastes and other toxic materials from the body, the proteins get saved in the blood.

Any abnormality of the filtering system of the kidneys, caused due to various conditions of the kidneys, may result in protein in urine. The condition of protein in urine is often referred to as proteinuria.

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Symptoms of protein in urine

In most cases, protein in urine does not result in any symptoms. However, some of the signs and symptoms of protein in urine are as follows:

  • Most of the cases of protein in urine are generally diagnosed after a routine test of the urine
  • It may be possible that a urine sample accumulated during day time may have miniscule quantities of protein, while the urine sample gathered during the night may contain increased amounts of protein. Such signs may be detected when the affected individual has a condition known as orthostatic proteinuria. This condition usually does not show any other signs
  • Most of the cases of protein in urine are caused due to some form of damage or infection of the kidneys or due to certain underlying conditions. When such disorders are not detected in the initial stages then it can lead to a variety of symptoms such as:
    • Facial swelling, generally due to edema or retention or water
    • Swelling of the legs, feet, hands and other regions of the body
    • The urine may have a foamy appearance or may contain bubbles
    • In a few cases, it can result in serious conditions like kidney failure
    • The presence of protein in urine during pregnancy may be possibly caused due to a condition known as preeclampsia. This condition has to be promptly treated to avoid complications for the mother as well as the unborn child.

Causes of protein in urine

The normal level of protein in 100 ml of urine is around 10 mg. When the urine is cleared in a 24 hour cycle, then the protein levels have to be less than 150 mg. The presence of excessive levels of protein in urine, above the permissible levels, generally indicates the presence of proteinuria. The human blood contains large quantities of a protein known as albumin. So when protein is detected in urine, then it is common to find higher quantities of albumin in urine.

Some of the underlying causes of protein in urine are discussed below:

  • Underlying disorders and diseases: This includes:
    • A number of cardiac conditions such as congestive cardiac failure can often result in malfunction of the kidneys. This process is however quite slow
    • Individuals affected by cancers can experience dysfunction of the kidneys leading to protein in urine
    • Malignant high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, amyloidosis which causes collection of amyloid in different tissues and organs or tissues, preeclampsia at the time of pregnancy, Goodpasture syndrome, etc., can cause impaired functioning of the kidneys, increasing the chances of protein in urine
    • A few types of autoimmune conditions such as lupus erythematosus can eventually lead to an impaired kidney functioning. This indicates that most of the progressive conditions can cause malfunctions of the kidneys, which increases the risk to protein in urine.
    • Diabetic nephropathy may also lead to dysfunction of the kidneys, leading to protein in urine
    • Problems of the kidneys: One of the initial signs of kidney conditions is the presence of protein in urine. Any analysis of the urine that results in protein detection involves a through checking of the kidneys. Kidneys perform the important function of filtering out the toxic and waste materials from the body. Hence, detection of protein in urine, generally points to a malfunction of the kidneys.
      • Conditions and diseases that affect the urinary system such as glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, pyelonephritis, tumor of the bladder, etc. can impair the function of the kidneys and also damage them, increasing the risk to protein in urine.
      • When the kidneys get affected by infections then they may experience inflammation which can restrict their functionality. Infections of the other systems such as the urinary tract can also lead to dysfunction of the kidneys, leading to protein in urine.
      • Excessive hypertension and serious type 1 and type 2 diabetes, can also impair the kidney functions resulting in protein in urine
      • Medications and certain drugs: The presence of excessive levels of protein in urine may also indicate the need to examine the intake of daily medications. Certain drugs like nephrotoxic medications can seriously affect the functioning of the kidneys. There are a number of other drugs that can impair kidney function as a side effect. Hence, when protein is found in urine, then consumption of the routine drugs need to be restarted only after consultation with a doctor.
      • There are several other problems like dehydration, heavy metal poisoning, increased emotional or physical stress, increased exposure to cold or heat, fever, etc., may also lead to protein in urine

Treatment of protein in urine

Treating the underlying causes of protein in urine can effectively repair the kidney functioning leading to treatment of proteinuria.

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One Response to "Protein in urine"

  1. Jenni says:

    Rebecca / So Sorry to hear this, you, Joey and the rest of the family are in our tuohghts and prayers. Hope she is recovering well at home by now.Love you.

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