What causes proteinuria?

Proteinuria is the result of protein in the blood passing through the kidneys and into the urine. Diabetes and high blood pressure are common causes of proteinuria. Acute illness or dehydration can result in a transient increase in a urine protein measurement.

Renal causes of proteinuria

Proteinuria can be caused by a number of conditions or disorders of the kidney including:

  • Damage to the kidneys from certain drugs or toxins such as heavy metals
  • Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the filtering structures of the kidneys)
  • Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) or inflammation
  • Other kidney diseases
  • Polycystic kidney disease (inherited disorder resulting in enlarged kidneys with multiple cysts)

Other causes of proteinuria

Proteinuria can also result from other conditions such as:

  • Acute illness with fever, including urinary tract infection
  • Amyloidosis (rare immune-related disorder characterized by protein buildup in organs and tissues that can cause serious complications)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Dehydration
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Preeclampsia (high blood pressure and proteinuria in pregnancy)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)

What are the risk factors for proteinuria?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing proteinuria. Not all people with risk factors will develop proteinuria. Risk factors include:

  • African American, American Indian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • Aging
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive exercise
  • Genetic factors
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Overweight or obesity

Reducing your risk of proteinuria

Some risk factors for proteinuria cannot be changed, such as age, genetics and ethnicity. However, risk factors related to lifestyle choices are modifiable, and they can reduce your risk of proteinuria. You can reduce your risk of developing proteinuria through the following actions.

You may be able to lower your risk of proteinuria by:

  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels if you have diabetes
  • Undergoing regular urine testing if you have risk factors for proteinuria


What is proteinuria?

Proteinuria is an abnormal condition in which the kidney releases too much protein into the urine. Proteinuria is also known as albuminuria, due to the presence of one type of protein, albumin, in the urine. It is often caused by dysfunctional kidneys, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Proteinuria is a sign of chronic disease of or damage to the kidneys.

Proteins circulate wi... Read more about proteinuriaintroduction


What are the symptoms of proteinuria?

You may not experience symptoms of proteinuria; however, as the condition changes, a number of symptoms may result. The symptoms can vary in intensity among individuals.

Common symptoms of proteinuria

Any of these common symptoms of proteinuria can be severe:


How is proteinuria treated?

Treatment for proteinuria begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have proteinuria, your health care provider will ask you to provide a urine sample for laboratory testing.

Treatment for proteinuria depends on the underlying cause. However, the goal of treatment is to reduce the levels of protein in the urine. Several approaches are suc... Read more about proteinuriatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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