Proteinuria (Albuminuria)

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Proteinuria is a condition characterized by the presence of greater than normal amounts of protein in the urine. It is usually associated with some kind of disease or abnormality but may occasionally be seen in healthy individuals. Plasma, the liquid portion of blood, contains many different proteins. One of the many functions of the kidneys is to conserve plasma protein so that it is not excreted along with waste products when urine is produced. There are two mechanisms that normally prevent protein from passing into urine: 1) the glomeruli provide a barrier that keeps most larger plasma proteins inside the blood vessels and 2) the small proteins that do get through are almost entirely reabsorbed by the tubules. Proteinuria most often occurs when either the glomeruli or tubules in the kidney are damaged. Inflammation and-or scarring of the glomeruli can allow increasing amounts of protein and sometimes red blood cells (RBCs) to leak into the urine. Damage to the tubules can prevent protein from being reabsorbed. Proteinuria may also develop when too much of a small protein is present in the blood and the tubules cannot reabsorb all of it. Laboratory testing is the only way to know for sure if someone has proteinuria. Several health organizations recommend regular urine tests for people at risk for chronic kidney disease. There are frequently no symptoms associated with proteinuria, especially in mild cases. Large amounts of protein may cause urine to appear foamy. Significant loss of protein from the blood can affect the body's ability to regulate fluids, which can lead to swelling in the hands, feet, abdomen, and face (edema). When symptoms are present, they are usually associated with the condition or disease causing proteinuria.


Laboratory Test Procedures:

foamy urine
hands swelling
feet swelling
face swelling
abdomen swelling

Protein (URINE TEST)
Creatinine (URINE TEST)
eGFR for African Americans
eGFR for non-African Americans
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All information on this page is intended for your general knowledge only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information