An excessive amount of protein in the urine is not uncommon and is very common. The possible consequences and, to an even greater extent, the possible triggers should not be underestimated in any way.
What is protein in urine?
According to PHONEJUST.COM, proteinuria describes an abnormally increased removal of protein via the urine, whereby the limit of 150 milligrams of protein excreted daily is clearly exceeded. If the excretion exceeds 20 times the normal value, there is so-called major proteinuria, which can have serious consequences.
However, if this excessive release does not occur regularly, but only at irregular intervals, one speaks of benign reversible proteinuria, which in most cases disappears again without any adverse effects on health.
The causes of proteinuria are very different and varied. On the one hand, this can occur as a result of a whole series of diseases or the effects of substances. On the other hand, it often arises as an independent disease that can slowly and permanently damage the kidneys and, as a result, other organs of the body.
Any poisons, drugs or allergens can also be the cause of the development of proteinuria, as can chronic transplant rejection after a kidney transplant. A disease of the metabolism, such as diabetes mellitus, or of the blood can also result in an increased amount of protein in the urine.
Since all of the diseases or foreign substances mentioned cause damage to the sensitive system of the kidneys, the kidneys can no longer properly fulfill their primary task – to cleanse the blood of toxins – and leave the proteins, which they normally pass through the glomerulus to a large extent. Filters and the kidney tubes from entering the bladder.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
With this condition, people suffer from a build-up of protein in the urine. As a rule, this complaint indicates another underlying disease and should definitely be treated. In most cases, if there is protein in the urine, people also experience urination problems.
This leads to burning or stabbing pain. This pain can also lead to irritability or other psychological complaints or depression. In severe cases, patients need a kidney transplant or dialysis to prevent death.
Furthermore, protein in the urine also indicates diabetes, which also has a negative impact on the patient’s health. Thrombosis and edema continue to occur. In severe cases, complete kidney failure or even a heart attack occurs. The illness can lead to a general feeling of illness and to permanent tiredness and fatigue in the patient.
If there is no treatment, the life expectancy of the patient is significantly reduced by the disease. In many cases, the disease can be resolved by changing diet, with the patient suffering from some restrictions in everyday life.
Diagnosis & course
Evidence of an increased concentration of protein in the urine can nowadays be provided very easily and quickly. Complications only arise when it comes to narrowing down the possible causes and finding out whether permanent proteinuria is present at all, since only then is there an acute need for action.
In the last few years, the investigation with the help of a test strip, which jumps to albumin, the globular protein, which can be found in the urine in proteinuria, has prevailed. To do this, the test strip is briefly dipped into the urine sample to be examined and then checked for discoloration.
If the stripe has turned blue-green, there is an increased excretion of protein. However, only a laboratory test can reliably determine whether there is a permanent increase in the protein in the urine and whether there is already damage to the kidneys.
If the proteinuria remains undetected or untreated, an albumin deficiency occurs, which can lead to edema, thrombosis and infections. It also increases the risk of kidney failure and a heart attack.
Protein in the urine does not necessarily lead to complications or discomfort. In many cases, the symptom does not need to be treated directly either. The complications mainly arise during diagnosis, as it is relatively difficult for the doctor to find out the correct cause of the protein in the urine.
As a rule, the patient may have kidney or heart disease. This can lead to kidney failure or a heart attack, both of which can be life-threatening for the person concerned. If the kidneys have been irreversibly damaged, the patient may need dialysis for the rest of their life.
The treatment of the disease is always causal and is always based on the underlying disease. If certain medications or foods are responsible for this, these must be discontinued or changed. The person concerned must also pay attention to a low-protein diet so that the symptom does not worsen. Complications can arise if there is no treatment at all. It cannot be generally predicted whether there will be a reduced life expectancy.
When should you go to the doctor?
If the urine foams and possibly smells unusual, there is an increased amount of protein in the urine. A visit to the doctor is recommended if the proteinuria develops for no apparent reason – i.e. outside of the flu and independent of physical exertion or stress. This is especially true if the symptoms mentioned have not disappeared after a week at the latest. If accompanying symptoms occur, medical advice must be obtained immediately.
Anyone who experiences urinary retention or other serious kidney problems, for example, should have this clarified immediately. If kidney failure or signs of a heart attack occur, an emergency doctor must be called immediately. People with an existing kidney disease should always have protein in their urine checked by a doctor as soon as possible.
Likewise, patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus or have any other illness for which an increased protein content in the body could be problematic. If there is protein in the urine, a medical examination is necessary in order to resolve the uncertainty and thus prevent possible psychological consequences in the long term.
Treatment & Therapy
Although proteinuria cannot be completely cured in most cases, its course can be slowed down to such an extent that the likelihood of kidney failure and other serious secondary diseases are reduced to a minimum.
In many cases, a low-protein diet combined with medication is recommended. If, on the other hand, other diseases or various foreign substances are responsible for the increased concentration of protein in the urine, these must be combated or ingestion stopped in order to stop the proteinuria.
Outlook & forecast
With the current medical possibilities, proteinuria is still considered incurable. However, good medical care can significantly reduce the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. If no treatment is sought, there is often a gradual deterioration in health.
In severe cases, the disease can lead to the affected person’s premature death. Most patients suffer from functional or metabolic disorders caused by protein in the urine. The heart or kidneys are not functioning properly or there are chronic diseases. With proteinuria there is therefore an increased risk of organ failure and thus a life-threatening condition for the patient.
In addition to drug treatment, diet changes will improve the patient’s prognosis. It is important to ensure a balanced and low-protein food intake in the long term. If harmful substances such as alcohol, nicotine or drugs are avoided, this has a positive influence on the general state of health.
If the person concerned suffers from foreign substances in the organism, these must be treated so that the symptoms can be alleviated. Without therapy for the underlying disease, the value of the protein in the urine will be permanently present and lead to further health problems.
Prevention of proteinuria is only possible if a healthy lifestyle can protect against the occurrence of various diseases that can trigger them.
Since the exact triggers of the independent proteinuria, however, have not yet been fully clarified, preventive measures can still be recommended.
Proteinuria can be found in almost everyone from time to time, but this usually disappears after a short time and in the rarest of cases indicates a serious illness.
Nevertheless, possible triggers should be checked and a permanently increased excretion of protein should be excluded in order to avoid serious long-term damage.
In most cases, protein in the urine indicates another underlying disease, so the underlying disease must be treated in order to alleviate the symptoms. The first priority is the early detection of this complaint so that there are no further complications or deterioration of the condition.
Whether the disease limits life expectancy or not depends very much on the underlying disease, so that no general prediction can be made. In most cases, however, this disease cannot be fully treated, so that the person affected will always suffer from kidney insufficiency in the further course. However, this should be delayed as long as possible. The protein in the urine is treated with medication.
These should always be taken as directed by a doctor and, above all, in the correct dosage in order to permanently alleviate the symptoms. Furthermore, many people affected are dependent on psychological support when there is protein in their urine. This can be done by your own family or friends, although professional support may be necessary in some cases.
You can do that yourself
If people notice that the urine smells strange or the kidneys are sore, they should see a doctor to urinate. The diagnosis is made quickly. With proteinuria, it is important to check your urine regularly, especially if it is not chronic and initially diagnosed. You can do that yourself, since the urine smells strange if there is too much protein. If this odor does not go away, a visit to the doctor is necessary. This can prevent kidney failure.
In everyday life, those affected must ensure that they eat a low-protein diet. This means that the diet has to be changed so that the protein levels can be reduced. Foods containing protein are mainly meat, fish and dairy products. Also eggs, soy products and cereals contain protein. In cooperation with the doctor, a nutrition plan can be worked out, since protein must always be consumed. It is the task of those affected to adhere to the guidelines and to regularly take the combined medication.
Regular monitoring in conjunction with a diary is useful in order to rule out other causes. In this way, long-term damage can be effectively avoided.