Proteinuria is not a specific disease, but is related to the health of your kidneys. It means that you have an abnormal amount of protein in your urine. Since healthy kidneys act as filters and keep protein in your body, very little protein should appear in the urine. Protein in the urine is an early sign that your kidneys may have been damaged by disease and have allowed proteins such as albumin to leak into your urine.
Kidney disease often has no early symptoms, and one of the first signs is proteinuria that is detected by a urine test done during a routine physical exam. Your doctor may also test your kidney function with the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) or with an ultrasound exam of your kidneys. Your doctor may also test you for hematuria, blood in your urine.
Diabetes and high blood pressure can cause damage to the kidneys, which leads to proteinuria. Some medications and toxins, infections, immune system disorders and trauma and even not drinking enough water can also cause protein to leak into the urine. Other risk factors are obesity, being aged 65 and older, a family history of kidney disease.
The treatment for proteinuria depends on identifying and managing the underlying cause of it. If that cause is kidney disease related to high blood pressure, treatment is necessary to prevent kidney failure. Medications such as ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) for high blood pressure may be prescribed as well as other treatments to manage chronic diabetes. Changes in your diet and lifestyle may also be recommended.