Skip to content
Font Size
A
A
A

Protein in Urine (Proteinuria)

People with proteinuria have urine containing an abnormal amount of protein. The condition is often a sign of kidney disease.

Healthy kidneys do not allow a significant amount of protein to pass through their filters. But filters damaged by kidney disease may let proteins such as albumin leak from the blood into the urine.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Diabetes and Exercise: Ideas to Get You Moving

If you have diabetes, your doctor may have been telling you for ages: You need to exercise more. Staying active helps you control your blood sugar and cuts your odds of heart problems and other health issues diabetes can cause. But knowing that you should exercise doesn't always make it easier to do it. Busy schedules, families, and work can make it hard for anyone to stick to an exercise plan. And diabetes can make it harder. Issues such as nerve damage, eye disease, and fatigue may all make it...

Read the Diabetes and Exercise: Ideas to Get You Moving article > >

Proteinuria can also be a result of overproduction of proteins by the body.

Kidney disease often has no early symptoms. One of its first signs may be proteinuria that's discovered by a urine test done during a routine physical exam.

Risk Factors for Proteinuria

The two most common risk factors for proteinuria are:

Both diabetes and high blood pressure can cause damage to the kidneys, which leads to proteinuria.

Other types of kidney disease unrelated to diabetes or high blood pressure can also cause protein to leak into the urine. Examples of other causes include:

Increased production of proteins in the body can lead to proteinuria. Examples include multiple myeloma and amyloidosis.

Other risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Age over 65
  • Family history of kidney disease
  • Preeclampsia (high blood pressure and proteinuria in pregnancy)
  • Race and ethnicity: African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders are more likely than whites to have high blood pressure and develop kidney disease and proteinuria.

Some people get more protein into urine while standing than while lying down. That is known as orthostatic proteinuria.

Treatment of Proteinuria

Proteinuria is not a specific disease. So its treatment depends on identifying and managing its underlying cause. If that cause is kidney disease, appropriate medical management is essential.

Untreated chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure.

In mild or temporary proteinuria, no treatment may be necessary.

Drugs are sometimes prescribed, especially in people with diabetes and/or high blood pressure. These may come from two classes of drugs:

  • ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors)
  • ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers)

Proper treatment -- especially in patients with chronic disease such as diabetes and high blood pressure -- is essential to prevent the progressive kidney damage that is causing the proteinuria.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on March 27, 2014

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.