Symptoms of proteinuria, what to do if affected

Excretion of more than normal amounts of protein in urine is a health risk. In medical terms, it is called proteinuria.

Symptoms of proteinuria

Protein in the urine is not visible to the naked eye. For some, however, too much protein can cause the urine to become cloudy, white, and foamy.

There are no specific symptoms of protein in the urine.

However, due to the decrease in protein in the body, some symptoms may appear, such as swollen feet, swollen mouth, breathing problems, loss of appetite, lack of appetite, excessive fatigue, lethargy, etc.

These symptoms are only seen when the body is deficient in protein due to protein leakage; that is, these symptoms appear many days after the original problem.

By that time, the disease had become very complicated. Therefore, there is no substitute for regular, routine tests to understand whether proteinuria is occurring or not.

Routine tests should be conducted to understand whether proteinuria is occurring or not, especially with increasing age, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

How do you know if you have proteinuria?

Through the dipstick test, it is very easy to understand whether excess protein is going into the urine or not. When you dip an object, like a stick, into a test tube with urine, the stick changes color. It can be seen whether excess protein is going into the urine or not. Individuals can perform this test at home.

A routine urine examination (urine routine examination) will detect whether protein is passing or not.

 Individuals over 40 and those at high risk for proteinuria should undergo one of these two tests at least once a year.  It is essential to perform routine urine tests, especially for those over 40 and those at high risk for proteinuria. Because, through routine urine tests, not only proteinuria but many other diseases can be understood. For testing, it is best to collect the first urine after waking up in the morning.

If you are diagnosed with proteinuria, here’s what you should do.

Diagnosing proteinuria requires immediate initiation of treatment. Otherwise, the complexity increases. Before starting the treatment, some tests are done first. These include some blood tests and ultrasonograms. If the kidney is inflamed, a kidney biopsy is necessary. Treatment depends on the cause of proteinuria.

There are different types of treatment available.

While treating proteinuria with medication, several lifestyle changes are necessary. A deficiency of protein causes water retention in the body. Reduce the amount of salt in the food. We should bring high blood pressure under control. Patients should aim to bring the three-month average of diabetes below 7. The doctor can sometimes specify the amount of water in the body. However, there is no restriction on food. Steroids and some other drugs are used in cases of inflammation, which can lower the immune system.

If not treated at the right time, the kidney can eventually lose its filtering capacity and become completely ineffective; that is, the kidneys can be damaged. As protein is excreted in the urine, the kidneys lose their function more rapidly. So if there is a problem with passing protein in the urine, you have to be careful in the beginning.

Proteinuria during pregnancy

Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia should be considered serious diseases if there is proteinuria during pregnancy. Along with proteinuria, a mother’s blood pressure is also very high. Pre-eclampsia in the mother stunts the growth of the fetus.

Malnourished babies are at risk of being born before full term. A mother with pre-eclampsia may have blood clots in her body, and platelets may decrease. Pre-eclampsia can damage the mother’s heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, eyes—even the brain. The mother may also have had a stroke.

Eclampsia puts the mother at risk of convulsions or fainting. If proteinuria is diagnosed during pregnancy, the doctor should closely supervise the patient to mitigate the risk of eclampsia.

If pregnant, she should be under the supervision of a doctor regularly. In the first checkup, some urgent blood tests are done along with routine urine tests.

Even if the urine test is normal, the doctor should be consulted if there is sudden weight gain or swelling of the face, feet, and hands. The doctor should measure blood pressure regularly.

The risk of pre-eclampsia is higher if the mother has twins, diabetes, or kidney disease, or if the child is born through a test tube.

Having had pre-eclampsia is also a risk factor later. In addition, the risk of pre-eclampsia is slightly higher if the mother is 35 years of age or older, overweight, if the previous child was born 10 years or more ago, or if someone in the family has a history of the disease.

Author: Head of Department, Department of Kidney, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital


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