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Protein in Urine: What Does It Mean?

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 09:13 PM

Kidneys are the filtration system of our body. Kidneys clear impurities and harmful substances from the blood circulatory system and excrete them. However, in certain conditions like fever, hypertension, diabetes and most commonly kidney or renal disorders, the kidney fails to function efficiently. This causes proteins being discharged in the urine. High excreted levels cause proteinuria, a common condition in renal disorder. Excretion of small amounts, especially of albumin, is called microalbuminuria, often seen in the early stages of renal diseases.


Proteinuria can be of many types. Transient or temporary presence of protein in the urine is usually caused due to high fever, dehydration, extensive physical activity or exercise, stress, and pregnancy. This condition does not necessarily indicate renal or kidney disorders. The protein levels revert to normal automatically after necessary treatment.
In persistent cases, the concentration of protein in the urine is abnormal. It is confirmed by monitoring the presence in urine continuously for 24 hours. If the amount of protein is more than 80 milligrams in a 24-hour urine collection cycle, the condition is deemed abnormal. This is usually caused due to kidney or renal disorders, which include abnormalities of nephrons or glomerulus. Under these conditions, the kidney loses its efficiency of blood filtration and fails to reabsorb the necessary proteins. This leads to discharge of proteins in urine. Sometimes, infections of the urinary bladder, heart disease, multiple myeloma, or even certain drugs can cause proteinuria.
Low levels of proteins in the urine, especially in diabetic and hypertension patients, represent early stages of kidney or renal disease.

No definite visible symptoms are present for this condition. Often, proteinuria is discovered during routine urine analysis performed for patients of diabetes and hypertension. Foamy urine is one of the indicators of presence of protein. In severe cases, like in patients of renal disorders, excess protein is discharged in the urine. This causes decrease in the concentration of albumin in the blood, which, in turn, causes leakage of fluid from the blood circulatory system, resulting in swelling of body parts and edema.


A simple analysis of urine using dipstick color indicators can help determine the presence or absence of protein. However, presence of protein in the urine does not indicate its causes. Microscopic analysis of urine for the presence of abnormal cell populations may help in the diagnosis of the causes, followed by detailed check-up involving Urine Albumin to Creatinine ratio test for 24-hour urine collection. Abnormal protein levels in the UACR test usually point towards renal problems.


The treatment procedure is based on the underlying causes. Most causes are kidney and renal disorders associated with diabetes and hypertension. Therefore, the therapeutic approach followed first aims at controlling blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The drugs administered usually comprise of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, along with angiotensin receptor blockers.

The condition associated with autoimmune disorders is usually treated with steroids in conjugation with angiotensin receptor blockers.
Proper medical attention should be sought in cases of persistent proteinuria to find out the exact causes. Proper treatment can prevent further kidney and renal complications.

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Improper functioning of the kidney leads to renal disorders, including faulty filtration and absorption, leading to discharge of protein in the urine. This condition is termed proteinuria.
protein, urine, kidney, renal, causes
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 09:13 PM
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