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What Is Involved in the Management of Proteinuria?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Proper management of proteinuria depends upon the underlying cause as well as the overall health of the patient. When routine urine tests reveal an abnormally high amount of protein, additional tests may be ordered in order to determine the reason for this symptom so that an individualized treatment plan can be developed. Medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure are among the most common factors in the management of proteinuria. Dietary changes, lifestyle modification, and medication may be needed in order to reduce the amount of protein buildup in the kidneys. If severe kidney damage has occurred, however, more invasive treatment methods, such as dialysis or transplant, may be required.

Diabetes is a leading cause of protein in the urine, and the management of proteinuria for diabetics typically involves the proper control of blood sugar levels. Dietary changes, such as limiting sugar and carbohydrate intake, is often enough to manage mild cases of diabetes. In more severe cases, supplementation with a hormone known as insulin may become necessary.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can lead to a buildup of excess protein in the kidneys. Prescription medications, lifestyle changes, and dietary modification may be used in the management of proteinuria caused by hypertension. Healthy eating habits combined with moderate exercise can frequently lower blood pressure levels enough to eliminate the excess protein. Prescription medications may be needed if these modifications do not produce the desired results.

Kidney disorders such as polycystic kidney disease or chronic pyelonephritis may lead to an inability to properly filter protein from the urine. Management of proteinuria in these instances depends largely on individual symptoms, as there is no known cure for these diseases. A diet low in protein and sodium is usually recommended in an attempt to inhibit the decline in kidney function. Medications may be used to prevent or control specific symptoms such as hypertension or fluid retention.

In the most severe cases, the management of proteinuria involves dialysis or kidney transplant. This type of treatment is required when the kidneys have suffered so much damage that they can no longer support the life of the patient. Dialysis is a medical procedure in which the blood is filtered through an external machine and returned to the body after waste and excess fluid have been removed. Depending upon the situation, dialysis may only be needed for a short amount of time, or it may be performed regularly until a suitable donor kidney is found for transplantation.

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