Renal Calculi

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Info & Treatments for Kidney Stones & Kidney Disease

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Abnormal levels of protein in the urine, also known as proteinuria, is a condition that sometimes arises with kidney disorders. It's revealed by a blood test. Small amounts of protein passing in the urine is normal for healthy people, but abnormally high amounts are an indicator of various kinds of problem.

Causes And Indications


Proteinuria arises from one of two sources. The more common source is a problem with kidney function. The kidneys normally do not allow significant amounts of protein to pass into the urine but retain it in the blood for use by the body. Thus, higher than normal levels of protein in urine can show a malfunction of the blood-filtering action of the kidneys, which in turn can arise from various causes.

The other, less common cause is an overproduction of protein by the body so that it overwhelms the capacity of the kidneys to filter it out of the urine.

Proteinuria can arise from high blood pressure or from diabetes, either of which can cause damage to the kidneys. Proteinuria is an early indication of kidney disease, which often has no symptoms until the later stages of the illness and thus early detection via blood tests is valuable. Other factors implicit in kidney disease can also cause proteinuria besides high blood pressure and diabetes. These include obesity, old age, trauma, various bacterial and viral infections, immune system disorders, some poisons, preeclampsia (a complication sometimes arising in pregnancy), and chronic renal disease.


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Symptoms


Proteinuria itself has no symptoms. In the early stages of the disease, neither does chronic renal failure. Proteinuria is itself a symptom or indicator of renal disease, particularly in the stages of the disorder when no overt symptoms are often found. A blood test is required to indicate the presence of proteinuria, and a positive result should be followed up with other blood tests to determine what type of kidney problems or other health problems are causing the symptom.

Diagnosis


Diagnosis of proteinuria is accomplished via a blood test. Further tests should then be done to determine whether the symptom is the result of kidney problems, as is usually the case, and if so whether the kidney dysfunction should be classified as prerenal, renal, or post-renal. Different treatment options will exist depending on this secondary diagnosis.

Prerenal kidney failure is a result of inadequate blood flow to the kidneys. This can happen as a result of many different factors including congestive heart failure, dehydration, blockage of the renal artery, blood loss from injury, burns, shock, and trauma, and liver disease. Prerenal kidney failure is a common complication of severe injury especially when it involves blood loss, and examination for kidney failure is something that should be a procedure of emergency room trauma units.

Renal kidney failure results from damage to or disease of the kidneys themselves. Acute renal failure can arise from infections or traumatic damage to the kidneys, as well as from toxins. Chronic kidney disease is a deteriorating kidney diseases that progresses over time and eventually can result in complete kidney failure. Proteinuria is particularly useful as an early indicator of kidney damage or kidney disease.

Treatment


Proteinuria is not itself a disease, but rather a symptom of other diseases. For that reason, treatment depends on the disease of which it is an indicator. If the cause of proteinuria is kidney disease, appropriate treatment becomes very important, as untreated kidney disease can result in kidney failure, requiring dialysis, kidney transplant, and possibly leading to death.

If the underlying cause is high blood pressure or diabetes, treatment may involve diet and exercise often aided by medications. If the underlying cause is injury, trauma, infection, or toxins, other treatments are indicated. In all cases, any indication of damage to the kidneys such as proteinuria should be taken seriously.

Prevention


Prevention of kidney disease is a matter of recognizing the risk factors for the disorder (or set of disorders) and correcting for those risk factors as much as possible. Factors that increase the risk of kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, old age, family history of kidney disease, smoking, heart problems. Obviously not all of these are preventable (everyone gets old, and family history is what it is), but when a non-preventable risk factor is present that places more importance on the factors that can be prevented. Many of these factors are interactive as well. For example, obesity increases the risk of both Type II diabetes and high blood pressure, while smoking increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems.

A healthy lifestyle in general can reduce the risk not only of kidney disease but of many other illnesses. This includes good diet, regular exercise, control of your body weight, and refraining from smoking and excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages.

Protein in Urine

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