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Urine Protein Test

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Why the test is needed/ Why is it done?

This test is done to check for:

• Extra amount of protein in your urine.

• To evaluate and monitor functioning of your kidneys.

• To detect any abnormality or damage to the kidneys.

When is it done?

This test is done when:

• You opt for a routine annual health checkup.

• If you have any signs or symptoms of kidney disease.

• Any disease or disorder which can affect your kidneys such as diabetes, hypertension and others.

The doctor might also ask you to do this test, if he finds that your previous urine protein test was positive.

What sample is needed and how is it collected? / How the sample is collected?

You can collect a random urine sample at any time of the day or a 24 hour urine sample. Sometimes, this 24 hour urine sample can be collected in split manner with a morning sample (collected between 8am to 11pm) and night sample (collected between 11pm to 8 am).

The doctor may also ask for a blood test to check for creatinine and serum protein level.

What preparations are required before the test?

No preparation is required before the test.

What is tested?

This test checks the protein level present in the urine, which is being released by the kidneys. Protein and albumin elimination in the body is less than 150mg/day and 30mg per/day respectively. Conditions like infection, heavy exercise, stress, pregnancy, cold exposure and diet can cause elevation of protein levels in urine which is temporary in nature. Continuous presence of protein in urine indicates possibility of kidney problem and some other related issues. To determine the exact cause of this problem, additional tests are usually required.

There are several types of urine protein tests available, some of them are mentioned below:

• To check for presence of protein in urine, a semi quantitative protein test is done, which is called as dipstick. This test can be done with random urine sample.

• In 24 hour urine sample, the presence of protein is interpreted as the amount of protein released by the body through urine in 24 hours.

• Urine creatinine can also be checked in a random urine sample while checking for protein in urine. This is called as ratio of urine protein to creatinine (UPCR).

The continuous release of creatinine, which is a byproduct of muscle metabolism, in urine is a normal process. When urine creatinine test is done along with urine protein test to calculate UPCR, the accuracy of random urine sample becomes comparable with 24 hour urine sample (which is otherwise a cumbersome task for children and some adults).

Proteins present in the blood such as albumin, globulins and others are essential for the functioning of the body. Amongst these, albumin is the major protein in the blood. When blood circulates through the normal functioning kidneys, they filter out the waste products and retain essential components such as proteins. But when kidneys get damaged or affected by some other conditions they start losing out some protein in urine which can be detected by urine protein test.

Presence of protein in urine is commonly seen in chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, which causes to the damage kidneys. As the kidney damage progresses the level of protein lost in urine increases accordingly.

Usually, no signs and symptoms are seen in the person who is having a kidney problem in its early stage. But the symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, edema and nausea can be seen if this problem persists for a longer period of time. Conditions like multiple myeloma, lymphoma and amyloidosis leads to extra amount of protein production in the body which in turn leads to excess protein in urine.

Albuminuria, presence of albumin in urine is a sensitive indicator for kidney damage in people with diabetes and hypertension, therefore it is recommended to screen for urine albumin instead of urine protein in these patients.

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What does the test result mean?

Negative

• No detectable amount of protein present in the urine sample.

Positive

• Proteins can be detected temporarily in urine sample due to transient conditions such as infection, pregnancy, vigorous exercise, diet, cold exposure and physical and emotional stress. Urine protein test should be repeated after the resolution of these conditions.

• When protein is detected in urine persistently (typically multiple samples taken over a period of time), it can suggest kidney damage or underlying serious condition. Severity of the damage is measured by the amount of protein present in the urine. When the amount of protein in urine increases overtime, it suggests increasing kidney damage with decreased functioning.

There are number of conditions that can cause increased level of protein in urine. To determine the exact cause, your doctor may advise some additional tests. Some of the causes of protein in urine are given below:

• Diabetes

• Hypertension

• Multiple myeloma

• Congestive heart failure

• Urinary tract infection

• Amyloidosis

• Good posture syndrome

• Bladder cancer

• Lupus

• Heavy metal poisoning

• Preeclampsia

• Drug therapies

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