What is albumin and what happenswith it in the kidneys?
Albuminis a protein that is normally present in blood. It is filtered out ofthe blood by the kidneys, but is absorbed back, and there is normallyno albumin in the blood. Let us explain this. Urine is basicallyexcess water, minerals and waste products of metabolism. It is, moreor less, what is removed from the blood. This removal process is donein the kidneys, more precisely, in numerous tiny channels with porouswalls. In the early stage of urine creation, in the upper half ofthese tubes, many things are filtered out, but, in the second phase,things that are needed are absorbed back through the walls of thetubes. This is how albumin that was excreted returns to the blood.
Ifkidneys are damaged, absorption of albumin might not work perfectlyand some albumin will remain in the urine. Such condition is calledmicroalbuminuria, and is the frequent result of damage to the kidneysthat was caused by diabetes. But, various other reasons can causekidney damage, conditions such as high blood pressure, cirrhosis,heart failure, or a certain form of lupus. As the amount of thedamage done to the kidneys increases (in example, when the conditionremained untreated), absorbing properties of kidneys decrease andever higher amounts of proteins and, among them, albumin, end up inurine. This is an indicator of serious kidney damage and can lead tochronic kidney disease, which is a life threatening condition.
Microalbuminurine test serves to check levels of albumin in the urine. It is donein hope to detect possible kidney damage as early as possible andprevent it from developing in more serious condition. What is neededfor the tst is the urine sample, colleceted randomly or over acertain period of time.
Symptomsof albumin in the urine
Inearly stages, there are no obvious symptoms, but advanced stages ofdisease may cause appearance of foamy urine and (because the kidneyfunction is already seriously reduced), swelling in the hands andfeet, face and abdomen.
Elevatedalbumin levels in urine during pregnancy are closely related withpremature births (it is an indicator of problems with blood vesselsthat feed the fetus) and pregnant women should monitor their albuminlevels in urine regularly.
Whatis treated is the cause. Therefor, the condition that causes kidneydamage is targeted, be it diabetes, high blood pressure, or otherdisease. It might be necessary to administer diuretics to get rid ofexcess fluid accumulated in the body. Once again, early detection ofthe problem is critical, so remember to test your urine for proteinlevels periodically.