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What is proteinuria?

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Proteinuria is the presence of excessive protein in the urine, according to WebMD. It is a common sign of kidney damage, as healthy kidneys prevent excessive amounts of protein from passing into urine.

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Kidney disease causes proteinuria by tampering with the filtration ability of the kidney, which results in the leakage of proteins from the bloodstream into the urine, explains WebMD. Because kidney disease rarely causes any symptoms during its early stages, proteinuria is often the earliest sign of kidney disease. Doctors conduct a urine test to determine the presence of excessive protein, which leads to the diagnosis of kidney disease.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common conditions that predispose an individual to proteinuria by damaging the kidneys, notes WebMD. Other factors that increase the chances of proteinuria are obesity and preeclampsia. Persons over 65 years of age are at increased risk of proteinuria, as are African-Americans and Native-Americans. Some people inherit proteinuria from their relatives.

To treat proteinuria, doctors address the underlying conditions, reports WebMD. For instance, doctors may recommend drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers if the underlying cause of proteinuria is diabetes or high blood pressure. However, patients with less serious or temporary proteinuria may not need any treatment.

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