Symptoms and Causes High Protein Levels in Kidneys

High level of protein in kidney causes abnormal excretion of protein content through urine, which in medical terminology is referred as proteinuria. It mainly occurs when the kidneys are not functioning well. Amino acids are building block of protein. Protein plays important role in the body. It helps to build muscles and bone, prevents infection and manages fluid equilibrium in the blood. When blood passes through the filtering apparatus of kidney, several wastes present in blood are filtered out and passed through urine, but kidney retains back protein. It is pushed back in circulation.

Usually in the beginning patient may not produce any symptoms, but over a period of time when too much of protein is lost through urine, the symptom manifest in the form of swelling of hands, feet, face and abdomen. Several conditions may be responsible for proteinuria.

What causes high level of protein in kidney:

There are several conditions that can cause rise in protein level in kidney and subsequently passage of more protein in urine.

  • Diabetic nephropathy: It is a serious complication of diabetes. People suffering from long standing uncontrolled diabetes tend to suffer from diabetic nephropathy.
    In the initial stage there may be microalbuminuria. Diabetes is a chronic disease. It can damage various organs of the body over a period of time. Because of high blood sugar, kidneys have to work harder, leading to its malfunction after a period of time. Type 1 diabetic patients are more likely to suffer from proteinuria.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure): Hypertension during pregnancy is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in a pregnant woman. It can lead to a condition called preeclampsia. The condition is characterized by damage to the filtering glomeruli of kidney.
    It causes leakage of protein in urine. Besides pregnancy related high blood pressure, a normal high blood pressure over a period of time can also damaged the kidney leading to high level of protein in kidney.
  • Infection: Nephritis is inflammation of kidney. It can occur due to kidney infection or autoimmune disease such as lupus. In the initial stage of this disease, patient may have high protein level in kidney which presents in the form of proteinuria. Patient may also present with other symptoms of swelling in ankle, face, and other parts of body.
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause kidney damage as its side effect. It may lead to excess of protein excretion through urine.

Besides the above causes, high level of protein in kidney can occur due to obesity, family history of kidney disease, etc.

Symptoms of high level of protein in kidney:

Most people with high level of protein in kidney may not present any symptoms in the initial stage. However, if the kidney damage is severe and excess amount of protein is leaked out of kidney, patient may present with these symptoms:

  • When using the toilet, urine may be foamy, frothy, or bubbly
  • Swelling in legs, face and hands.
  • Frequent urge to pass urine.
  • Hiccups
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Intense itching.