When kidneys are not working correctly, protein leaks through the kidney’s filters and into your urine. A higher protein level in urine is also called albuminuria or Proteinuria. This is a signal that the kidneys are damaged. High protein in urine or proteinuria signals that your kidneys might be damaged.
What is protein?
Protein is usually found in the blood. The essential protein in the blood is named albumin.
Proteins have some vital jobs to do in the body. For instance, they help build your muscles and bones, stop infection, and control fluid in the blood.
What are the sources of protein in urine?
Healthy kidneys eliminate additional waste and fluid from the blood and convert it into the urine. Healthy kidneys don’t remove proteins with other vital nutrients that pass through and return to the blood. However, when kidneys get damaged, they might leak protein in the urine. It causes higher protein levels in the urine.
Causes of high-level protein in the urine
Health problems that might cause a high level of protein in urine comprise:
- Family record of kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy)
Symptoms of high-level protein in the urine
When kidneys have mild damage and more negligible protein levels in urine, you won’t have any symptoms.
When kidneys are severely damaged, and you get high protein levels in urine, you will start getting symptoms like:
- Feeling sick with your stomach
- Foamy, bubbly, or frothy urine
- More often urination
- Muscle cramps in the night
- Swelling in hands, belly, feet, or face
If you get any of the given symptoms, visit your doctor immediately.
How to know if the protein comes in urine?
A urine test is the only way you can identify that you have proteins in your urine. This test will assess the protein levels in the urine.
UACR (Urine Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio) is the name of a urine test that measures the albumin levels in the urine. UACR compares albumin level with creatinine level. An average value of UACR is below 30mg/g. If the UACR is 30 mg/g or more, it could signal kidney disease, and your doctor will ask you to do some other kidney disease tests.
How to treat high-level protein in urine?
Doctors treat the source of protein in your urine:
In the case of diabetes, the doctor will create a treatment plan for keeping diabetes under control to slow kidney damage. They might suggest you:
- Be active every day
- Check blood sugar levels often
- Follow diabetes-friendly eating plans
- Take some medicines
In case of high blood pressure, the doctor will prescribe medicines to low down the blood pressure to slow down the kidney damage. These medicines include:
ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitors, the medicines that lower blood pressure. They enlarge the blood vessels and help the kidneys to throw away extra water and low the hormones, which increase the blood pressure.
ARBs (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers) are a set of medicines that lower blood pressure. They, too, widen the blood vessels.
If you are not suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes, your doctor might still prescribe ARBs or ACE inhibitors to slow the kidney damage.
If you have a high protein level in your urine, talk to your doctor immediately to get the best treatment option.