Proteinuria (pro-teen-yur-EE-uh) means protein in your urine (pee). Your kidneys make urine by cleaning extra fluid from your blood. Your kidneys also help prevent the loss of things that your body needs, like protein. Proteinuria happens when your kidneys let protein leak into your urine. Protein in your urine may also be called albuminuria or microalbuminuria.
Why does it matter if I have proteinuria?
A very tiny amount of protein in your urine may be common from time to time, but a larger amount of protein in your urine may be an early sign of kidney disease.
If proteinuria is not controlled, the increased amount of protein in your urine can lead to more kidney damage. Over time, this can cause your kidneys to fail, and you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
If you find and treat the problem that is causing your proteinuria, you may be able to stop or slow down the damage.
What are the symptoms of proteinuria?
You are not able to see protein in your urine. The only way to know if you have proteinuria is to have your urine tested. Most people do not notice any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they might include foamy urine or swelling in your hands, feet or face.
How do I know if I have proteinuria?
Being tested for proteinuria is simple. There are two main tests:
- A dipstick urine test tells your doctor if there is protein in your urine.
- Your doctor may test your urine in the office or ask that you bring in a sample from home.
- If your first dipstick urine test shows protein in your urine, ask your doctor if you should be tested again. Also ask your doctor if a Urine Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (UACR) test is right for you.
- A UACR test tells your doctor how much albumin is in your urine.
- Your doctor will test your urine for albumin (a type of protein) and creatinine (a kind of waste). Your doctor will compare these results to figure out your UACR.
- A normal UACR is less than 30mg/g¹. If your UACR is more than 30 mg/g, ask your doctor when...