The excretory system which consists of kidneys, ureters and urethra is one of the most essential systems in the body. The kidneys, which are the main organs of the excretory system, filter the waste products from the blood and expel them from the body through the urine. Since protein molecules are large in size, they generally are unable to pass through the glomeruli or filters of the kidneys. It is a normal phenomena to find traces of protein in the urine. However at times, this can result in too much protein in the urine.
Causative Factors for Protein in Urine
Proteins are the building blocks of the body, as they are the major components of hair, muscles, nails and bones. Another essential function of proteins is to protect the body from infections and diseases. The body eliminates excess protein through the urine. There are two types of protein that can appear in the urine - globulin and albumin. Protein levels in urine, also called proteinuria in medical parlance, is a condition where the urine shows the presence of protein. This condition is also known as albuminuria. When the body is unable to dispel the larger molecules of protein, the protein tends to get accumulated and the presence of protein can be detected in the urine, causing an increase in protein level in the urine. Low levels of protein in urine are considered to be normal, especially in younger people and can be detected in the urine after exercise or any other physical activity. If elevated degree of protein is diagnosed, then it can be a matter of concern. High amount of protein in the urine can be symptoms of major health problems like kidney failure or chronic kidney diseases. Though it is normal for healthy people to pass small amounts of protein through the urine, if the amount increases then it can be an indication of damage or inflammation to the glomeruli, which os the filter mechanism, of the kidneys.
The presence of protein in the urine may also be due to glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the glomerulus, or if the renal pathways or ureters, suffer from infections like pyelonephritis or cystitis. General health disorders like urinary tract infection, heart diseases or rheumatoid arthritis that tend to affect the kidneys can also be one of the causes of proteinuria. If your urine shows high levels of proteins then your urine may appear frothy or foamy with a distinct smell. The urine also may appear dark yellow or brownish yellow in color. It can also cause failure of the kidneys. The possible symptoms of kidney failure are experiencing fatigue, swelling in the face, feet and arms.
Pregnant women are always told to undergo urine tests to screen the levels of blood sugar in order to check for gestational diabetes or to detect the presence of any disorders that may cause harm to the fetus. Proteinuria during pregnancy is an indication of preeclampsia, where the blood pressure is abnormally high during pregnancy. The symptoms of preeclampsia are shortness of breath, blurred vision, infrequent urination, abdominal pain, nausea, persistent headaches and fatigue. The treatment of preeclampsia will depend on the term of pregnancy.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Proteinuria
Unfortunately, the presence of protein in the urine does not exhibit any symptoms as such. The only way to detect the presence of protein is to undergo a simple urine test, also known as dipstick test. Once the protein levels have been determined, the doctor may target the causative factors of this condition. In order to reduce protein in the urine, the doctor may prescribe medication to treat the underlying disease that may be a causative factor. The primary goal is to keep a check on the blood glucose levels and also control blood pressure. For this the physician may prescribe drugs like ACE inhibitors and diuretics (or water pills), along with other medication to control blood glucose levels. A healthy diet, with reduced salt and protein intake, may also recommended.
You can undergo protein urine test or urinalysis, in order to find out levels of protein levels in urine. If the test result shows abnormal levels, you must consult a doctor who may prescribe certain medication to decrease or eradicate the amount of protein expelled through urine. Wish you good health!