What is proteinuria?
ξ It is when protein is in the urine.
ξ Kidneys are like a filter. They get rid
of waste products from the blood.
They also do not allow good
materials like protein and blood to
leak into the urine.
Why does it matter?
Having protein in the urine suggests kidney
disease or unhealthy kidneys. It is
sometimes the first sign of kidney disease.
No protein leaks from a healthy
Protein leaks from the unhealthy
ξ There are often no symptoms when
there is a small amount of protein in
ξ A large amount of protein in the
urine causes foamy or frothy urine.
This is like the foam seen in milk
due to protein in milk.
ξ A large amount of protein will cause
swelling in the legs, face and belly.
ξ Another symptom is high blood
Proteinuria is caused by damage to small
filters in the kidney called glomeruli. The
glomeruli can be damaged by diseases that
affect the whole body like diabetes, lupus,
vasculitis or high blood pressure. It can also
be caused by diseases limited to the kidneys.
Examples include IgA nephropathy and
Methods for Diagnosis
ξ Urine dipstick testing: One sample of
urine is tested to look for protein.
ξ 24-hour testing: Sometimes, urine
needs to be collected for 24 hours or
a whole day to confirm the amount
of protein in the urine.
ξ Blood and/or biopsy testing: To
diagnose cause of proteinuria
requires more testing of blood. A
kidney biopsy may also be required.
The goal of treatment is to lower the amount
of protein in the urine. This will keep your
ξ Low salt diet (2000 mg/day)
ξ Use of medicines to lower blood
pressure and protein in urine (such as
ξ Figure out the cause of protein in
urine and treat the disease causing
damage to kidney.
References/Source of Images:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health Information Center
(NIDDK) (2014, September 17). Monitoring Your Kidney Health. Retrieved from
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