Proteinuria ( Albuminuria ) : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
What is proteinuria ?
When the kidneys are working correctly they filter waste products out of the blood but keep in important elements including albumin. Albumin is a protein that helps to prevent water from leaking out of the blood into other tissues.
If high blood sugar levels over a number of years damage the kidneys, they may allow too much albumin to be lost from the blood.
Proteinuria is a sign therefore that the kidneys have become damaged.
What causes proteinuria :
In many cases, proteinuria is caused by relatively benign (non-cancerous) or temporary medical conditions.
These include dehydration, inflammation, and low blood pressure. Intense exercise or activity, emotional stress, aspirin therapy, and exposure to cold can also trigger proteinuria. In addition, a kidney stone in the urinary tract can cause proteinuria.
Occasionally, proteinuria is an early indication of chronic kidney disease, a gradual loss of kidney function that may eventually require dialysis or a kidney transplant. Diabetes and high blood pressure can damage kidneys and are the number-one and number-two causes of kidney disease.
Other potentially kidney-harming diseases and medical conditions, which can lead to proteinuria, including
- Immune disorders like lupus and Goodpasture’s syndrome.
- Acute inflammation of the kidney (glomerulonephritis).
- Cancer of plasma cells (multiple myeloma)
- Intravascular hemolysis is the destruction of red blood cells and the release of hemoglobin in the bloodstream.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Preeclampsia is the simultaneous development of hypertension and proteinuria in a pregnant woman.
- Kidney cancer.
- Congestive heart failure.
- Also, most serious illnesses can result in proteinuria.
What Symptoms of proteinuria :
The only outward signs of excess protein in urine are those that develop in conjunction with chronic kidney disease. There are many symptoms of CKD that can be mistaken for other problems, which is why screening is vital.
Common symptoms of CKD include:2
- Intolerance to cold.
- The scent of ammonia on the breath (uremia fetor).
- A metallic taste in the mouth (dysgeusia)
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath).
- Easy bruising.
- Swelling (edema) of the face.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Itching (pruritus).
- Loss of appetite.
- Foamy urine.
- Difficult or frequent urination, including at night.
- Pain in the kidneys, legs, or upper back.
What treatment for proteinuria :
If you have temporary or mild proteinuria, you likely won’t need treatment. But if you have consistent proteinuria, you’ll need to treat the underlying condition.
Treatment may include:
Dietary changes. If you have kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, a doctor will recommend specific diet changes.
Weight loss. Losing weight can manage conditions that impair kidney function.
Blood pressure medication. If you have hypertension or diabetes, the doctor might prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure.
Diabetes medication. You may need medication or insulin therapy to control high blood glucose.
Dialysis. In glomerulonephritis and kidney failure, dialysis is used to manage high blood pressure and fluids.