Albumin in urine

 

Proteins are one of the important nutrients that aid in growth and development of the body, and also in muscle building. The body requires a variety of proteins for the maintenance of good health. Immunoglobulin and albumin are two types of proteins that are essential to maintaining the fluids in the body and for coagulating the blood. Also, they provide protection against infections. It is normal for individuals to contain some amounts of protein or albumin in urine. However, excessive quantities of albumin in urine, is abnormal and requires immediate consultation with a doctor.

When excessive levels of albumin in urine are detected for prolonged periods, then it is indicative of a medical condition known as albuminuria. In general, increased quantities of different types of blood protein in urine is referred to as proteinuria. In healthy individuals, the glomeruli present in the kidneys act as filters and do not allow the passage of the large protein molecules to pass into the urine. Damage of infection of the kidneys can affect the functioning of the glomeruli, thereby allowing the passage of albumin into urine.

Well functioning kidneys are capable of filtering out the unwanted, waste materials from the blood and form it into urine, while retaining the protein in the blood. Hence, excessive amounts of albumin in urine indicate that the kidneys may be malfunctioning. Patients who have increased quantities of albumin in urine are at greater risk to developing a disorder of any of the kidneys in the long run.

Symptoms of albumin in urine

  • The early stages of albumin in urine is usually asymptomatic or without any visible symptoms. There may also be difficulty in the detection of symptoms.
  • However, when increased quantities of albumin are passed onto the urine, then it can lead to the experience of various symptoms by the affected patient. One such symptom is the presence of foamy or frothy urine
  • Albumin in urine may also result in the development of edema like symptoms, which includes swelling of different regions of the body.
  • A diminished functionality of the kidneys can lead to gain of weight
  • Fatigue, increased tiredness or low levels of energy may be elicited by the patient with albumin in urine
  • Pregnant women suffering from increased levels of albumin in urine are at an increased risk to deliver a premature baby

Causes of albumin in urine

Albumin in urine generally does not occur in healthy individuals. However, dysfunction of the kidneys caused due to infections, damage or certain diseases may result in malfunction of the glomeruli, which results in the passage of albumin into the urine. Increased levels of albumin in urine generally point to the fact that the glomeruli are defective or damaged. The determination of the amounts of albumin in urine can lead to an effective diagnosis about the presence of a renal disease in the patient affected by albumin in urine.

Individuals who have diabetes type 1 are at a greater risk to developing the disorder. Some other diseases that increase the susceptibility to developing kidney malfunctions leading to albumin in urine, include disorders such as liver cirrhosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, high blood pressure and cardiac failure.

Diagnosis of albumin in urine

A number of diagnostic tests can be undertaken to detect the levels of albumin in urine.

A normal dipstick test can be done to verify whether only smaller impurities are being eliminated by the kidneys, while retaining the large-sized albumin molecules in the blood.

In certain cases, excessive levels of albumin/proteins in the blood can also result in albumin in urine. Hence, physicians also recommend examining the blood for protein levels.

Increased levels of albumin in urine in expectant mother may be an indication of issues with the blood vessels. This in turn can lead to interference with fetal growth that can result in the delivery of a premature baby. Hence women who are pregnant are recommended to undergo regular checkups for detection of albumin in urine.

When doctors suspect that there may be malfunction of the kidneys, then they may recommend a microalbumin urine test. This test will examine the urine sample for albumin levels and also check for the albumin creatinine ratio, which can aid in inferring the extent of kidney damage and malfunction.

Albumin levels in Urine – Normal,  High

The levels of albumin in urine in healthy people are generally in the range within 0 to 8 mg/dl. Urine samples accumulated over a time frame of 24 hours should not have albumin levels in excess of 150 mg. Read more about normal albumin levels.

The presence of albumin in urine beyond the range of normal levels, usually point to a dysfunction of the kidneys. When the kidneys are damaged, high levels of albumin in urine will be detected, even when the levels of albumin in blood are at normal levels.

Treatment of albumin in urine

  • The treatment of albumin in urine is focused at treating the underlying condition that is causing damage of the kidneys.
  • Diabetic and hypertension patients with albumin in urine may be treated as per the individual cases. Hospitalization may be required in certain cases.
  • Infections of the kidneys may be treated via antibiotics
  • Other medical conditions resulting in kidney malfunction need to be examined by a doctor for effective treatment.

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