Kidneys in humans are the main filtering organs. Kidneys filter fluids and waste material from the blood and pass it as urine. But a normal healthy kidney does not allow large amount of protein to be passed in urine. Protein leaks out of kidney only when the filtering mechanism of kidneys is not working properly. It can occur when kidney is damaged or diseased.
Leakage of protein from kidneys through urine in medical terminology is called proteinuria. Protein excretion can be temporary or may be persistent. Transient loss of protein from kidneys can occur in young people after heavy exercise, high fever, stress or exposure to cold environment.
Usually temporary loss of protein is not concerning health issue and does not require to be treated. But if persistent large amount of protein is lost from urine, it means the kidneys are not functioning well or they are diseased.
What Causes Protein Leaking From Kidneys?
Loss of protein from kidney can be in small amount or large quantity. It can be transient or persisting for a long period. There are several causes which may lead to leakage of protein from kidney. Causes range from benign to lethal. The normal function of kidney is to flush out excess of fluid and waste from the circulating blood in the form of urine.
There are many other components in blood; one of the components is protein. Kidney retains it when blood passes through kidney’s filtering system. Sometimes there may be small amount of leakage of protein from the kidney. This can occur under circumstances such as rigorous exercise, exposure to cold, fever, dehydration, mental stress, etc.
Aside from the above causes protein loss can also occur due to diseases of kidney as well as conditions that does not involve kidney. These causes include:
- Chronic kidney failure
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Multiple myeloma
- Bone marrow cancer
- Kidney infection
- Sarcoidosis and rheumatoid arthritis
Symptoms Of Protein Leaking From Kidneys
Loss of protein from kidney is itself a symptom resulting from an underlying condition. In majority of cases proteinuria is detected while routine screening of urine among people suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure.
If there is severe loss of protein in urine patient may develop following symptoms:
- Swelling in lower leg, face and abdomen.
- In some cases there may be swelling in upper limbs.
- Increase in weight due to accumulation of fluid in the body.
- Presence of sugar in urine in diabetic patients.
- Blood albumin and globulin are reduced. Both these are components of protein present in blood.
- Reduced appetite
- Foamy urine
How To Stop Protein Leaking From Kidneys?
Since protein leakage is itself a symptom, the underlying therapy is aimed at diagnosing the cause and treating it. For example if the cause is high blood pressure, all efforts are made to control hypertension with medications. In the same way if patient is diabetic he needs to control his diabetes so that it can restrict damage to the kidneys.
Patient should also restrict intake of salt in his diet. Depending on the amount of damage, doctors also advise to restrict intake of dietary protein. Persistent as well as intermittent loss of protein from kidney requires regular or at least six monthly check up of urine till proteinuria completely disappears.