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