Albuminuria: Proteins in Urine, Symptoms and Recommended Test


It is a type of protein that is usually found in the blood. Since the body needs protein. So we have that albumin is an essential nutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissues, and fight infections.

However, the condition is created when the albumin, which should be naturally in the blood, happens to be in the urine. That is, when you have albumin (protein) in your urine and not in the bloodstream, it is called “albuminuria” or “proteinuria.”

How do I know if I have protein in my urine?

You can first do a simple urine test. This is part of a routine exam. You will be asked to urinate in a clean cup called a “sample cup.” Only a small amount of urine (approximately two tablespoons) is needed to do the test.

Part of the urine is tested immediately with a measuring rod, a thin strip of plastic placed in the urine. The rest is looked at under a microscope and sent to a laboratory, where a test called ACR (albumin-creatinine ratio) is done.

An ACR shows if you have albumin in your urine. An average amount of albumin in the urine is less than 30 mg / g. Any amount above 30 mg / g may mean kidney disease, even if your GFR number is greater than 60.

What is wrong with having albumin (protein) in my urine?

Let’s see. One of the main tasks of your kidneys is to filter your blood. Your kidneys maintain essential nutrients that your body needs inside your blood, such as proteins. However, it also eliminates things your body does not need, such as waste products and extra water.


If the kidneys are healthy, you should have very little protein in your urine – or even none. However, if your kidneys are damaged, the protein can “leak” from the kidneys in the urine.

Does it mean that I have kidney disease?

It may be an early sign of kidney disease, but your doctor will check again to ensure that albuminuria is not caused by something else, such as not drinking enough water.

The albumin test will be repeated if your doctor suspects you have kidney disease. Three positive results for three months or more show kidney disease.

You will also have a simple blood test to estimate the GFR, which means glomerular filtration rate. Since your GFR number helps determine how well your kidneys work.

It can also be given:

  • Image tests. (An ultrasound or computed tomography). This produces an image of your kidneys and urinary tract. You can show if your kidneys have kidney stones or other problems.
  • A kidney biopsy. This can help you figure out what caused your kidney disease and how much damage to the kidneys has happened.

How often should I have an albuminuria (proteinuria) test?

People at increased risk of kidney disease should undergo this test as part of routine exams performed by a health care provider. People with the highest risk include:

  • People with diabetes
  • People with high blood pressure
  • People with a family history of kidney failure
  • People older than 65
  • Certain ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans

If I have albuminuria, will I need treatment?

Your health care provider will create a treatment plan if kidney disease is confirmed. You may also be asked to see a particular kidney doctor called a nephrologist. Your treatment may include:

  • Medicines
  • Changes in your diet
  • Changes in lifestyle such as losing extra weight, exercising, and quitting smoking

What other tests detect it?

A test called urinary albumin: creatinine ratio (ACR in urine) is the preferred method to detect albuminuria. This test is done on a single sample of your urine.

Your doctor may ask you to collect a urine sample first thing in the morning, right after you get up (called the first empty sample). If this is not practical, your doctor can still do the test on a collected urine sample at any time during the day (called a spot random sample).

If the test results are positive, the doctor will repeat the test twice in the next three months to see if he has persistent albuminuria.

How often do you have to take this test?

An ACR test in the urine should be done at least once a year if you have diabetes or high blood pressure and every two years if you are obese, have cardiovascular disease, or have a family history of CKD.

Your doctor will probably ask you to have a blood test to detect possible causes of protein loss. However, in case the doctor suspects that a child has orthostatic proteinuria, then he will ask for two urine to collect the samples and verify them.

The first one is collected in the morning, just after the child gets up empty). The second sample is collected during the day. If orthostatic proteinuria is present, the first empty sample does not have any protein, but during the day, the sample will have protein.

What are the symptoms of albuminuria?

In some cases, there may be no signs or symptoms related to this condition. One of the most common symptoms of albuminuria is excessive foam in the urine.

When a very high level of albuminuria is ongoing, it can cause the protein in your blood to decrease. This fall allows fluids to move through the blood, the wall of the blood vessels causing areas of soft tissue, for example, around the eyes and other parts of the body such as the feet and hands.

The amount and type of protein in the urine reflect the change in the kidney. A small amount of albuminuria that comes and goes is usually not significant, but sometimes these low levels are the first signs of chronic kidney disease that can get worse over time.