The medical condition of having an excessive amount of protein in ones urine is diagnosed as either proteinuria or albuminuria. The term albuminuria is named after the main protein that is found within urine, albumin. The central system responsible for cleansing the various organs of the body are the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for purging the body of waste, as well as removing chemicals from the blood that are not required to be retained.
Although the presence of a slight amount of protein within in the urine is not cause for concern, it is possible for a variety of medical conditions to negatively affect the kidneys ability to properly filter resulting in proteinuria. Normally protein molecules are too large in size to successfully pass through the glomeruli (singular glomerulus) within the kidneys. So, an extended case of proteinuria may possibly indicate that the kidneys are not functioning properly as a filtering system.
Orthostatic proteinuria, transient or intermittent proteinuria and persistent proteinuria, are the three main types of proteinuria.
• Orthostatic Proteinuria: Most commonly found among young adults, and adolescents who are tall and thin in stature. For this condition, higher volumes of protein are excreted into the urine when the individual is standing.
• Transient (Intermittent) Proteinuria: This type of proteinuria occurs when there is a short-term rise in the protein level found within the urine, and is typically not caused by any underlying kidney condition. Typically this type of proteinuria resolves itself without any type of medical assistance, and is most commonly benign.
• Persistent Proteinuria: This type of proteinuria is an indicator for certain underlying medical ailments. The most common causes are diseases of the heart, kidney, or blood vessels.
Symptoms of Proteinuria
It is possible for proteinuria to not produce any discernible symptoms, most typically when it is still within the early stages. As the protein levels become increasingly higher, it is common for the individual to experience several possible symptoms.
• swelling of the arms, face, abdomen, ankles, hands and the feet
• loss of appetite
• foamy or bubbly urine
• poor concentration
• nausea and tiredness
• weight gain (in large part due to fluid retention)• back pain
The urine may appear bubbly or foamy as the high levels of protein within the urine react with air. Weight gain as well as fluid retention of various body parts are the result of ‘edema’ more commonly known as fluid retention, a condition in which an excess of fluid is retained within the body tissues. When there is a large amount of protein present, albumin is filtered out of the body, when this occurs fluid escapes from the circulatory system and accumulates within the tissues.
Treatments for Proteinuria
Infections are the typical cause for a high level of protein in the urine, if a physician discovers an infection is the cause, a course of antibiotics are prescribed. In the case that an infection is not found, further testing is required to discover the underlying issue, such as blood testing and kidney function testing. In these cases the treatment would depend on what the further diagnostic tests reveal. For example, in the case that the individual’s proteinuria is caused by diabetes, your physician would prescribe the appropriate medication to help control your blood sugar levels. Lifestyle and diet changes may also be necessary to aid in the managing of this disease and its associated complications.