Proteinuria describes a condition where an excess of protein is detected in the urine. Urinalysis (urine testing) checks for different substances present in urine samples, including blood sugar (glucose) and protein. A certain level of protein is considered normal, but when the amount of protein exceeds this level, it's a sign your kidneys may not be functioning properly. Measuring for levels of protein in the urine is an important part of screening for possible kidney disease.
No, sometimes protein levels can become elevated as a result of other issues, including some illnesses or infections, fever, emotional stress, exposure to extreme temperatures or strenuous activity. These elevations are temporary and in the case of infection, they usually return to normal levels once the infection is successfully treated with antibiotics. If a urine sample shows unusually high levels of protein, a follow-up test will be ordered to determine if the increased level is a temporary change or if it's persistent, in which case it could be a sign of an ongoing kidney problem. If you have diabetes, you'll usually undergo urine testing on a regular basis to ensure your kidneys are functioning properly.
No, while kidney damage and kidney disease can cause protein levels to become elevated, other diseases and conditions can also cause an abnormal increase in urine protein levels, including: diabetes, heart disease and heart failure, high blood pressure, lupus, some cancers including leukemia and Hodgkin's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Berger's disease, glomerulonephritis and other inflammatory conditions of the kidneys, and pregnancy.
Urine testing is usually performed during an annual physical. Generally, people with diabetes or risk factors for kidney disease should be screened more frequently.
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