What Causes High Protein In Your Kidneys

What Does Excess Protein In The Kidney Mean

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The protein you eat has amino acids, which your body needs to build tissues, including bones, muscles, nails and hair. Protein also helps protect your body from infections, produces hormones and helps regulate the amount of fluid in your body. One function of your kidneys is to remove waste products from your blood and leave protein behind for your body to use, so excess protein is a noteworthy danger sign.


The presence of excess protein in your kidneys, diagnosed through a urine test, is often an early sign of kidney damage.

Tests For Diagnosing Nephrotic Syndrome

Urine dipstick test. This simple test checks for albumin in your urine. Having albumin in the urine is called albuminuria. You collect the urine sample in a container during a visit to a health care professionals office or lab. A health care professional places a strip of chemically treated paper, called a dipstick, into the urine for the test. The dipstick changes color if albumin is present in the urine.

To confirm the diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome, your health care professional may order one of these two urine tests

  • 24-hour urine collection. For this test, you will need to collect urine samples over 24 hours. Your health care professional will then send the samples to a lab for analysis.
  • Urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio . The UACR test uses a single urine sample to estimate the amount of albumin lost in 24 hours. The test measures both albumin and creatinine, a waste product of normal muscle breakdown.

Your health care professional may also order blood tests to check for low levels of protein in your blood and other problems linked to nephrotic syndrome.

What Are The Symptoms Of Nephrotic Syndrome

You may not know that you have nephrotic syndrome until you have routine blood and urine testsat a doctor’s appointment. The results of your tests can show that you have too much protein in your urine, not enough protein in your blood, or too much fat or cholesterol in your blood.Signs of nephrotic syndrome that you may notice are:

  • Swelling in your legs, feet, ankles and sometimes face and hands
  • Weight gain
  • Not feeling hungry

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Symptoms Of Protein In Urine

Proteinuria does not have many symptoms, and in the early stages you might experience none at all. As the amount of protein being excreted rises, however, your urine can begin to appear excessively foamy in the toilet. The reduced level of proteins in the body can also affect how water is retained and may result in edema of the hands, feet, abdomen, and/or face. Any other symptoms that may develop alongside proteinuria will depend on the underlying cause.

Incidentally, there is a variant to proteinuria known as orthostatic proteinuria, which is when the protein in the urine only goes when you are standing. This distinction can sometimes matter when it comes to narrowing down a final diagnosis.

What Do The Results Mean

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If a large amount of protein is found in your urine sample, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a medical problem needing treatment. Strenuous exercise, diet, stress, pregnancy, and other factors can cause a temporary rise in urine protein levels. Your health care provider may recommend additional urinalysis tests if a high level of protein is found This testing may include a 24-hour urine sample test.

If your urine protein levels are consistently high, it may indicate kidney damage or other medical condition. These include:

Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

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Where Are My Kidneys And What Do They Look Like

Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs near the middle of your back, one on either side of your spine. Each is about the size of a fist. Your kidneys are part of your urinary tract, which is the group of organs that make urine and remove it from your body. The urinary tract includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.

Diagnosis Of Nephrotic Syndrome

Diagnosing nephrotic syndrome involves a number of tests, including:

  • urine tests excessive protein makes the urine appear frothy and foamy. A test for albumin/creatinine ratio may be done to measure the amount of albumin in the urine in relation to the amount of creatinine
  • blood tests these estimate the glomerular filtration rate , which shows how well the kidneys are working
  • biopsy a small sample of kidney tissue is taken and examined in a laboratory.

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Treating Symptoms And Complications

Treatment varies according to symptoms, causes, and the extent of kidney damage. Symptoms of nephrotic syndrome are most often treated with these medicines3

In some cases, your health care professional may also prescribe medicines that lower cholesterol, called statins. Blood thinners may also be used, but usually only if you develop a blood clot.

People with nephrotic syndrome should receive the pneumococcal vaccine, along with yearly flu shots, to prevent viral and bacterial infections.

How Is Proteinuria In Children Diagnosed

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Because you cant see protein in your childs urine, it must be diagnosed with a urine test. For this test, a sample of your childs urine will be collected and sent to a lab for diagnosis.

After the first test, your doctor may want to recheck your childs urine for protein. Thats because the protein will often go away on its own . If the protein is still high on the second test, your doctor may ask you to collect a 24-hour urine sample from your child. This lets your doctor measure the amount of protein in the urine more accurately.

Your doctor may test your childs blood. He or she may also order an ultrasound or CT scan. These two procedures take pictures of your childs kidneys and surrounding area to look for problems. These procedures arent painful.

To diagnose orthostatic proteinuria, your childs doctor will check 2 urine samples. The first is collected in the morning, right after your child gets up. The second sample is collected throughout the day. The samples are kept in separate containers. If your child has orthostatic proteinuria, the morning sample wont have protein in it. But the urine collected during the day will have protein in it.

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Treatment For Nephrotic Syndrome

Minimal change nephrotic syndrome fixes itself in around 40 per cent of cases. Other causes of nephrotic syndrome are also often treatable. It is essential to consult a kidney specialist who can develop a management plan for your condition.

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition, but may include:

  • specific medication for some causes this may lead to complete or partial remission of the nephrotic syndrome
  • diuretics to control swelling
  • medication to control high blood pressure
  • dietary changes a diet low in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol may be helpful to reduce swelling and keep cholesterol levels under control. Advice from a renal dietitian may be required to develop an individualised dietary plan.

How Can You Tell If There Is Protein In Your Urine

If you have kidney damage and protein is escaping into your urine, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in your face, abdomen or hands and feet.
  • Urine that appears bubbly, foamy or frothy.

If you notice either of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about the cause and what the best treatment may be. In some cases, the issue will resolve on its own without further treatment.

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What Happens During A Protein In Urine Test

A protein in urine test can be done in the home as well as in a lab. If in a lab, you will receive instructions to provide a “clean catch” sample. The clean catch method includes the following steps:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad given to you by your provider. Men should wipe the tip of their penis. Women should open their labia and clean from front to back.
  • Start to urinate into the toilet.
  • Move the collection container under your urine stream.
  • Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container, which should have markings to indicate the amounts.
  • Finish urinating into the toilet.
  • Return the sample container as instructed by your health care provider.
  • If at home, you will use a test kit. The kit will include a package of strips for testing and instructions on how to provide a clean catch sample. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions.

    Your health care provider may also request you collect all your urine during a 24-hour period. This “24-hour urine sample test” is used because the amounts of substances in urine, including protein, can vary throughout the day. Collecting several samples in a day may provide a more accurate picture of your urine content.

    What Are The Complications Of Nephrotic Syndrome

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    When you have nephrotic syndrome, an important protein called albumin leaks into your urine instead of getting filtered by the kidneys as it should. Albumin helps your body get rid of extra fluid. When you do not have enough albumin in your blood, fluid can build up in your body, causing swelling in your legs, feet and ankles. You can also have other problems such as blood clots and infections.

    With nephrotic syndrome, cholesterol also builds up in your blood. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, clumps form inside your veins and arteries, which can cause a heart attack or a stroke.

    Nephrotic syndrome can also cause other serious health problems such as:

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    How To Reduce Protein In Urine

    This article was co-authored by Robert Dhir, MD. Dr. Robert Dhir is a board certified Urologist, Urological Surgeon, and the Founder of HTX Urology in Houston, Texas. With over 10 years of experience, Dr. Dhirs expertise includes minimally-invasive treatments for enlarged prostate , kidney stone disease, surgical management of urological cancers, and mens health . His practice has been named a Center of Excellence for the UroLift procedure, and is a pioneer in non-surgical procedures for ED using his patented Wave Therapy. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown University and was awarded honors in pre-medical studies, urology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology. Dr. Dhir served as chief resident during his urological surgical residency at University of Texas at Houston / MD Anderson Cancer Center in addition to completing his internship in general surgery. Dr. Dhir was voted Top Doctor in Urology for 2018 to 2019, one of the top three Best Rated Urologists in 2019 & 2020 for Houston Texas, and Texas Monthly has named him to the 2019 & 2020 Texas Super Doctors Rising Stars list.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 218,664 times.

    Why Your Doctor May Test For High Protein In Urine

    Proteinuria, or protein in the urine, occurs when your kidneys arent functioning normally, allowing protein to leave your body through your urine. Kidneys with normal function filter toxins out of the blood, while keeping nutrients like protein circulating. Having too much protein in your urine can mean that your kidneys are filtering too much protein out of your bloodprotein that your body needs to build muscles and maintain strong bones.

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    Pregnancy And Trace Ketones In Urine

    If abnormal or trace ketones in urine occur during pregnancy then it could be an indication of gestational diabetes. This condition can be detrimental for the unborn child. Hence, pregnant women need to seek immediate medical attention if ketones in urine are detected.

    It may also be noted that excessive vomiting and nausea which normally occurs during pregnancy can also lead to elimination of trace ketones in urine.

    How Do I Get Ready For This Test

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    You may need to skip exercising for a certain time before the test. Let your healthcare provider know if you have a fever or have been ill recently.

    Your provider will tell you if you should not take certain medicines on the day of the test. In addition, be sure your provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that dont need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.

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    How Does Eating Diet And Nutrition Affect Nephrotic Syndrome

    Eating, diet, and nutrition have not been shown to play a role in causing or preventing nephrotic syndrome. However, if you have developed nephrotic syndrome, your health care professional may recommend that you

    • limit intake of sodium and fluids to help control swelling
    • reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet to help control your blood cholesterol levels

    What Is Nephrotic Syndrome

    Nephrotic syndrome is a group of symptoms that indicate your kidneys are not working properly. These symptoms include

    • too much protein in your urine, called proteinuria
    • low levels of a protein called albumin in your blood, called hypoalbuminemia
    • swelling in parts of your body, called edema
    • high levels of cholesterol and other lipids in your blood, calledhyperlipidemia

    Your kidneys are made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The glomerulus filters your blood, and the tubule returns needed substances to your blood and removes wastes and extra water, which become urine. Nephrotic syndrome usually happens when the glomeruli are inflamed, allowing too much protein to leak from your blood into your urine.

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    How Your Kidneys Work

    Blood is cleaned in the kidneys as it passes through tiny filters called nephrons. Each kidney contains about one million nephrons. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood , while maintaining a balance of nutrients, salts and water.

    Protein is not usually removed when the kidneys filter waste from the blood. However, when the kidneys are damaged, protein leaks through the damaged filters and is removed from the body in the urine, along with the waste products.

    The two proteins that are most likely to be present in the urine when this happens are albumin and globulin .

    Usually, a person loses less than 150 mg of protein in the urine in a 24-hour period. A person with nephrotic syndrome can lose more than 3.5 g of protein in the urine during a 24-hour period .

    How Do Doctors Treat Protein In The Urine

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    Doctors treat the cause of protein in the urine:

    • If you have diabetes, your doctor will help create a treatment plan to keep it under control and slow down damage to your kidneys. They may recommend that you:
    • Check your blood sugar often
    • Take certain medicines
    • Follow a diabetes-friendly eating plan
    • Be active most days of the week
  • If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe a medicine to help lower your blood pressure and slow down damage to your kidneys. The types of medicine are:
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, which are a group of medicines that lower blood pressure. They widen your blood vessels, help your kidneys get rid of extra water and lower the hormones that raise blood pressure.
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers , which are a group of medicines that lower blood pressure. They widen your blood vessels.
  • If you do not have diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor may still prescribe an ACE inhibitor or an ARB to slow down damage to your kidneys.
  • Drinking water will not treat the cause of protein in your urine unless you are dehydrated. Drinking water will dilute your urine , but will not stop the cause of your kidneys leaking protein.

    If you have protein in your urine, talk with your doctor to choose the best treatment option for you.

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    Best Answer: Can Uti Cause Protein In Urine

    Urine infection can cause proteinuria, but usually there are other signs of this see Cystitis/Urinary Tract Infections. Proteinuria can also be a symptom of some other conditions and diseases: for example: congestive heart failure, a first warning of eclampsia in pregnancy.

    In this regard, what infections causeprotein in urine? If your urine protein levels are consistently high, it may indicate kidney damage or other medical condition. These include: Urinary tract infection. Lupus.

    Likewise, what shows up as positive in your urine if you have a UTI? A positive strip result for white blood cells in your urine indicates an infection in your urinary tract, or possibly, kidney disease.

    Additionally, can protein in urine be temporary? Because protein in urine can be temporary, your doctor might recommend a repeat test first thing in the morning or a few days later. Your doctor might order other tests, such as a 24-hour urine collection, to determine if there is a cause for concern.

    You asked, what is the most likely cause of protein in urine? The two most common are diabetes and high blood pressure. Other serious conditions that can cause proteinuria include: Immune disorders such as lupus. Kidney inflammation A urinary tract infection can cause foamy urine when bacteria is also in the bladder. In addition to foamy urine, other symptoms that may arise include pain or burning when urinating, frequent urination, and blood in the urine.


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