Proteinuria [PRO-teen-yur-ee-uh] is the loss of protein from the blood can impact your overall health. If your body loses excessive protein when you urinate you are at higher risk for developing possible chronic kidney disease. When this happens, doctors and medical professionals label this condition as Proteinuria. As kidney function decreases, larger amounts of proteins can spill into the urine. Healthy kidneys will only allow fluid and small molecules into the urine. When there is excessive protein is in the urine, it may be a warning sign of kidney damage. However, a laboratory test is required to know what is causing the changes in your urine. If you are interested in being tested or already have test results, you can learn more here.
Protein is found in our blood, and healthy kidneys should allow only small amounts into the urine. If the filters in kidneys (called glomeruli) are damaged in some way, too much protein is released into urine. It is not usual to lose protein in the urine.
A kidney is a filter can be compared to a coffee maker. Its filter separates the grinds from the water, but flavor and color from small coffee particles remain. The kidney is similar, but it allows liquid waste, including toxins, into urine when it is working properly. When this happens, protein or blood cells pass through – this is called spilling protein.
What are Proteins?
Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They hold cells together, help them function properly and regulate the body’s tissues and organs so it is important to have the right amount of protein in our bodies for growth and repair. Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids. There are many types of amino acids that are combined to make proteins that serve different functions. The following chart shows examples of different proteins and their functions:
|Antibody||Binds to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to help protect the body.|
|Enzyme||Carries out most of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place within cells, and assists with the formation of mew molecules.|
|Messenger||Transmits signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs.|
|Structural||Provides structure and support for cells.|
|Transport/Storage||Binds and carries small molecules within cells and throughout the body.|
Not all Proteinuria is the same:
Persistent Proteinuria: This is the most serious type of proteinuria. If you have more than one test showing high levels of protein in your urine, you should talk with your doctor immediately.
Transient Proteinuria: Those who have intermittent or periodic protein in the urine. This may occur during pregnancy or even after strenuous exercise. It is not usually suggestive of kidney disease. If you have a urine lab test that shows greater than 150mg of protein, you should have it tested again to see if it is transient and talk with your doctor.
Orthostatic Proteinuria: People who only have proteins in the urine when they are standing or sitting is also known as Postural Proteinuria. They do not have the problem when they are lying down. This is not a condition that is caused by kidney disease.
It is important that you talk with your doctor if you have symptoms or a laboratory test result that may suggest you have Proteinuria. Your primary care physician may refer you to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and management of problems with your kidneys, known as a Nephrologist.