Proteinuria is leakage of protein from the blood into the urine. The kidneys make urine by filtering the blood.
When the blood is filtered through the kidney ,no protein is filtered as the size of protein is large and cannot pass through the kidney filter.. However, in kidney disease,the filter is damaged which can cause the protein to leak into the urine. The filter in the kidney is called a glomerulus, and many of the kidney diseases that cause protein leak are called glomerulonephritis.
Protein in Urine Symptoms
Normally you may not notice protein leak in urine ,but when the protein leak is heavy you may notice frothy urine. The simple test with a dipstick (small plastic strip with an indicator paper attached) can detect very small amounts of protein, so a positive test may not always mean there is any serious problem with the kidneys. If the amount of protein in the urine is very high, it can causes water to build up in the body. The extra water can cause ankle swelling, or swelling around the eye or the whole body
Causes of Protein in Urine
Protein in the urine is a early marker of most of the of kidney diseases, further tests will be needed to find out the the cause of proteinuria
These are the most common:-
- High blood pressure
- Reflux nephropathy
- Minimal change nephritis
How is the cause of protienuria diagnosed?
Simple urine test is very sensitive, but cannot measure exactly how much protein is leaking in the urine .To get an exact measurement ,a urine sample is needed in which the laboratory measures the levels of protein and creatinine in the urine (‘protien-creatinine ratio’ or PCR for short).
The doctor will need to talk to the patient about any symptoms the patient may have including the medication history.
You will need to undergo other blood tests and also an ultrasound examination of the kidneys.
Sometimes, to make a firm diagnostics of the cause of protienuria, it is necessary to perform a kidney biopsy. This is done under ultra sound guidance and tiny fragment of kidney is taken out using a needle, and is examined under a microscope to conform the cause of protein leak.
What are the complications of protienuria?
Many people with protienuria turn out to have minor kidney disease with no problems in long term, but some kidney disease can progress to kidney failure. Complications depend on the exact cause of proteinuria
The higher the protein leak the worse the kidney damage
Majority of the Kidney disease commonly cause high blood pressure. This increase the risk of further kidney disease, and also the risk of heart attack and stroke. Drugs will be needed control the blood pressure and the protein leak
Very high protein levels in the urine can cause high levels of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the blood. If the cholesterol level is high over a period of years there is an increased risk of heart attack.