Is High Protein In Urine Dangerous?
Is High Protein In Urine Dangerous?
The presence of abnormally high amounts of protein in urine is known as proteinuria. Normally there is no urine found in a person’s urine but when the kidneys do not function properly some amount of protein can leak into the urine. Low level of protein in urine is not a sign of kidney disease and can be found in a healthy person. The temporary rise in protein levels in urine is also normal in young individuals especially during recovery from illness and after exercise.(1)
Kidneys mostly function as a filtering system of the body. They remove any unwanted waste and toxins from the body and retain healthy products. When any disease or condition affects the kidneys they cease to function optimally and the protein normally found in the blood (albumin and globulin) leaks into the urine. These proteins are antibodies circulating in the system fighting the infections in the body. So when these proteins are lost in the urine it is an indication of kidney’s filter system not working properly. Any elevation in pressure in the glomerulus (intraglomerular hypertension) will lead to worsening of the kidney disease. Many studies have proven that more the protein is lost in urine the faster the progression of kidney disease takes place. When this proteinuria is not controlled then the progression might lead to failure of the kidneys. A person then requires dialysis or a transplant to compensate for the non-functioning kidneys. It, therefore, becomes very important to control the protein loss in urine on time by the use of certain drugs like ACE inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers. The more the proteinuria is controlled, the better the outcome of halting the chronic kidney disease.(1)
There are certain diseases that can lead to persistent elevation of levels of protein in the urine. They are endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart), some drugs such as NSAIDs, heart failure, hypertension or high blood pressure, Hodgkin's disease, inflammation of the kidneys cells called as glomerulus (glomerulonephritis), focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, diabetes leading to diabetic nephropathy, IgA nephropathy or Berger’s disease. Other conditions that can lead to proteinuria are malaria, nephrotic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, sickle cell anemia, and multiple myeloma.(2)
It becomes necessary to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of high levels of protein in urine and consult a doctor on time. The doctor will advise a urine test that will measure the amount of protein in urine and then the amount of albumin to creatinine is compared (UACR ratio). This ratio more than 30mg/g is indicative of kidney disease. The signs to look out for when you suspect a kidney disease is swelling in the hands, feet and face or abdomen along with urine that is frothy or bubbly. These symptoms could well indicate the severity of kidney disease. It is important to consult a doctor so that the treatment can be started on time and other issues can be addressed as well that might aggravate the kidney damage.(3)
Treatment Of Proteinuria
The treatment not only aims at controlling the symptoms of proteinuria but also at treating the underlying causes aggravating the kidney disease. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease. Therefore it becomes important to control these conditions first to control further damage to the kidneys. Medication for controlling blood sugar and hypertension are started. The doctors will mostly prescribe angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers to control hypertension. Furthermore, other conditions are also treated accordingly that might lead to an elevation of amounts of protein in the urine.(3)
Even with the treatment going on it is necessary to look for any alarming symptoms that might indicate the worsening of the condition and consult a doctor immediately. A healthy diet and lifestyle also go a long way in maintaining the good health of the overall body so that the load on the kidney is reduced.(2)
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