Albuminuria, as the name suggests, is the issue that causes the albumin to seep into the urine. So, the condition causes the protein to pass from the blood to your urine. It signifies the underlying kidney disease. A healthy kidney always filters the waste and passes it through the urine. But, a damaged kidney lets the albumin in the blood to enter the urine. It is a condition that indicates that you have some health problem. Therefore, when you detect albuminuria, you need to see your doctor immediately. It is a condition that can have fatal consequences. So, take the necessary steps to prevent or overcome the issue.
What Is Albuminuria?
Protein is one of the most significant building blocks of the human body. The protein is essential for your body to build the bones as well as muscles. It also plays an important role in fluid circulation in your body. You can successfully fight infections attacking your body with the protein in your blood. As mentioned, the protein must stay in the blood. It must never seep into the urine. When the protein, particularly albumin seeps into the urine, it means you have albuminuria. The less albumin in your urine, the better your health is. The protein in urine signifies the kidney disease or other medical conditions that cause issues in your body.
Working Of Kidneys
Before moving into the albuminuria, you need to know the basic kidney functions. It will help you understand the problem better. The kidney act like a filter in your body. When the blood passes through the organ, it can separate the waste products. So, the waster along with the excess water from the urine. So, you pass the urine from the body to eliminate the waste. The kidneys have filters known as glomeruli. It can segregate the waste from your body. Usually, the protein cannot pass through the filter. It is due to the large size of the protein. But, the abnormal or damaged kidney can leak the albumin into your urine.
Different underlying health conditions can lead to the damage of the filters/glomeruli of the kidneys. If you suspect it, then you need to contact your doctor. The doctor can conduct tests to measure albumin levels. The amount of protein in your urine can reflect the severity of your kidney problem. It also tells your doctor the information about the probability of kidney failure in the coming years.
Albuminuria And Proteinuria
Most people refer to albuminuria as proteinuria. So, is it the same? Or does it differ from one other? The two terms mean more or less the same. The abnormal levels of albumin in the urine refer to albuminuria. The albumin is the most common protein that can seep into the urine. But, the urine also has other proteins that can seep into the urine like:
- Immunoglobulin (low molecular weight)
- Beta-2 Microglobulin
The albumin is the most common type of protein you can find in the urine. But, the other proteins can seep into the urine. Proteinuria refers to a particular condition. So, the urine may or may not contain albumin.
Types Of Albuminuria
Depending on the albumin levels leaked into the urine, you can classify albuminuria into two types. Learn more about it.
It is the term describing the moderate level increase of the albumin levels in the urine. With the slight level of kidney damage, the albumin leaks into small (micro) quantities. Therefore, the albumin excretion in the urine is around 30mg to 300mg (within the twenty-four hour period). The filters or the glomerulus of your kidneys fail to restrict the albumin from passing into the urine. So, it signifies the start of kidney disease. You need to get the treatment immediately to avoid severe complication.
With the declining kidney function, the albumin secretion in the urine increases. Therefore, the kidney filters pass macro or large amounts of albumin into the urine. Macroalbuminuria is the term used to refer to the high albumin levels. How do you know it is high? The urine having albumin levels of more than 300 mg (within the twenty-four hour time period). The condition suggests you have a serious kidney condition. The high albumin in the urine can indicate you need immediate medical attention for the silent kidney condition.
Main Causes Of Albuminuria
The normal urine may have trace amounts of proteins in it. The albumin seeping into the urine in very small amount needs no medical attention. But, some health conditions can trigger the excess albumin concentration in the urine. The cause of the condition is either temporary or permanent.
Temporary Causes Of Albuminuria
Some of the causes that result in the temporary rise in the albumin levels. So, the common condition resulting in the rise of albumin levels for a short period are:
The loss of fluids from the body can result in protein seeping into the urine. The dehydration can cause your kidneys to pass the proteins especially the albumin. It is a temporary condition that solves with enough hydration.
Strenuous Physical Exertion
Exercising for a long period of time or performing physical activity can result in loss of fluids. So, it results in dehydration. It ultimately results in albuminuria.
The stress is the negative emotion causing negative effects on your body. It affects your mental and physical health. It also increases the albumin levels in the urine. So, getting rid of stress can bring the balance back into your body.
High body temperature is another cause of elevated levels of albumin in the urine. So, if you have a fever, your body releases albumin into the urine. But, you need to seek the doctor’s assistance in such cases. The albumin levels must decrease once your fever goes away. If it does not happen, then it signifies a more serious health condition.
One of the temporary factors affecting your albumin levels in the urine is the climatic condition. If your body is subjected to the extremely cold temperature, it can affect several things in your body. The cold weather can trigger vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) to produce heat. It also causes the kidneys to filter more proteins into the urine.
Some medication can cause side effects like high albumin levels in the urine. In such cases, you need to consult your doctor to alter the dose or get an alternative medication to prevent the issue.
Health Issues Causing Albuminuria
Some of the underlying health problems can lead to high levels of albumin in the urine. The problem is more serious compared to temporary factors. It never resolves itself. So, you need medical assistance to clear the problem. Not getting medical help can result in severe complication like kidney failure. Therefore, people having the following health condition need to maintain caution.
It is one of the most common risks associated with high albumin levels. The high levels of sugar in the blood can put pressure on the kidneys. It can lead to kidneys malfunctioning, which can cause albuminuria.
High Blood Pressure
Another common factor affecting kidney health is hypertension. High blood pressure patients are more at risk of getting kidney problems. Therefore, it results in the high levels of protein or albumin in the urine.
Any physical trauma to the kidneys due to an accident can lead to the malfunctioning of the kidneys. Therefore, it results in the albumin seeping into the urine.
Kidney infection or urinary tract infection causes inflammation. It can affect kidney function. So, it results in the excess filtering of protein or albumin into the urine.
Immune System Disorders
The problems in your immune system can make you vulnerable to many diseases. Among them is kidney problems. It can lead to high levels of albumin in your urine.
All the problem mentioned above needs immediate medical attention. Your doctor can detect the exact problem causing the protein to leak into the urine. The kidneys filter the blood to remove the waste in it. The purified blood reaches all the body parts to ensure everything is working properly. The waste in the body and extra water is removed from the body in the form of urine. Protein like albumin is important for your body. So, it must remain in the blood. Therefore, albuminuria is a serious issue that needs your attention.
People At Risk Of Albuminuria
Reading the article, you may wonder if you can get the problem. Though everyone has a chance of getting affected, some people are more at risk. The people having the following condition have an increased risk of albuminuria.
- People having diabetes
- Individuals with a family history of kidney disease
- Ethnic groups of people including Asians, African American, Hispanics, and American Indian
- People who are old (more than 65 years of age)
- Individuals suffering from high blood pressure
People coming under the category need to test their urine albumin levels frequently. The routine checkups by the health care provider can detect early kidney diseases. So, it helps manage the issue without further complications.
Symptoms Of Albuminuria
So, how can you know that you have some problem with your kidneys? Some signs and symptoms can exactly help in determining the presence of underlying kidney issues. Therefore, look out for the following symptoms:
The main indication that something is wrong is the appearance of your urine. With high albumin levels, the urine looks foamy or frothy. So, you need to check with your doctor to detect condition leading to the problem.
Swelling On Different Parts Of The Body
The high levels of albumin in your urine mean that a drop of protein levels in the blood. The reduced levels of protein trigger the fluid movement through the walls of your blood vessel. So, it results in the swelling of the area that has soft tissue. It causes swelling in the following areas:
The protein levels in the urine reflect the health. So, the small to trace amounts of protein like albuminuria at a time means you have no issues. But, the frequent low levels of albumin can indicate chronic kidney disease. It is the earliest symptoms of kidney disease. The large levels of albuminuria mean kidney problem. So, it needs investigation as soon as possible.
Diagnosis Of Albuminuria
Once you suspect some problem, you can seek an appointment with your doctor. The doctor can perform various tests to confirm albuminuria. The following tests are suggested by your doctor to detect the elevated albumin levels in your urine:
It is the most common test to detect the elevated albumin levels in the urine. The attractive feature of the test is you can perform it at home too. Home kits are available to test the albumin levels. You just need the urine sample. The dipstick is placed in the urine. The dipstick is the chemically treated paper or a plastic strip that changes color by coming in contact with albumin. If you prefer getting tested at the hospital, then you just need to provide a urine sample. The lab technician can detect the albumin present in your urine.
Albumin And Creatinine Ratio Measurement
If your doctor suspects an underlying health condition, the ACR test is suggested. It is the Albumin-to-creatinine ration taken with the twenty-four period. The ratio between the albumin and creatinine during the time period can help your doctor determine the presence of health problem. The creatinine is the waste product that gets accumulated in the urine. It is filtered in your kidneys. The creatinine is flushed outside the body through urination. The ACR is checked in the lab by the technicians under a microscope. The ACR levels above 30mg/g indicate underlying health issues that need medical attention.
To make a proper diagnosis, your doctor can conduct the test for the next three months. It is to eliminate the possibility of albuminuria due to conditions like dehydration or other problems. The repeated test can shed light on the presence of kidney disease. Therefore, three positive ACR results mean you have underlying kidney disease.
GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate)
The simple GFR blood test aims to shed light on the working of the kidneys. So, your doctor can perform the test to see if your kidneys are in healthy condition.
The presence of albuminuria indicates a kidney problem. So, other tests like imaging tests and biopsy can reveal the actual condition.
Treatment For Albuminuria
The excess levels of albumin in your urine is not a specific disease. It is the sign of an underlying health condition that needs immediate treatment. The mild or temporary cases of albuminuria need no medical treatment. It can clear on its own without any medication. Other issues require medical attention immediately to relieve the symptoms. The most common approach your doctor takes is to cure the underlying health problem. So, the treatment plan is developed based on the issue.
If high blood pressure or diabetes is the cause of the issue, then your doctor prescribes medications. The main classes of drugs used to treat the condition include:
- ARBs (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers)
- ACE Inhibitors (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors)
The drugs can prevent damage to the kidneys due to the high pressure and sugar levels.
The underlying kidney disease needs proper treatment. So, you need to consult the specialist doctor called nephrologist to get the ideal treatment plan. Based on the severity of the issue, the treatment is adopted.
You can prevent the temporary and chronic cases of albuminuria with some simple steps. It will help you prevent kidney diseases.
Small yet significant changes to your lifestyle can bring huge transformation to your overall health. You can follow the pointers to ensure a healthy and high-quality life:
- to reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the pressure on your kidney and prevent albuminuria.
- Including physical activities like the exercise in daily life can improve the blood circulation to the body. It will keep you healthy and improve the immune system.
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption to avoid serious issues in your life.
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily to ensure good hydration. It will avoid albuminuria problems due to dehydration.
Healthy kidneys never allow high levels of albumin to pass through your urine. Therefore, albuminuria indicates damaged kidneys. You need to take adequate steps to determine the actual problem. It will help you overcome the disease with ease. Ignoring the signs of albuminuria can only cause severe complications or damage to your health. Therefore, seek help from your doctor to get the ideal treatment. It will increase the quality and quantity of your life.
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