Albuminuria: what it is, the main causes and how the treatment is done

Albuminuria corresponds to the presence of albumin in the urine, which is a protein responsible for several functions in the body and which is not normally found in the urine. However, when there are changes in the kidney, there may be a release of this protein in the urine, and it is important that the urologist or nephrologist is consulted in order to identify the cause and initiate appropriate treatment.

The presence of albumin in the urine can be identified through the type 1 urine test, however, to check the amount of albumin it is usually requested by the doctor to perform the 24-hour urine test, in which all the urine produced by the person in question one day it is collected in its own container and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Learn all about the 24-hour urine test.

How to understand the result

Albumin is a protein responsible for various functions in the body, such as maintaining osmotic pressure, controlling pH and transporting hormones, fatty acids, bilirubin and medications. Under normal conditions, the kidneys prevent the elimination of proteins in the urine, however, when renal function is compromised, proteins, albumin mainly, pass from the blood to the urine. Thus, albuminuria can be classified according to the extent of the kidney injury into:

  • Microalbuminuria, in which small amounts of albumin are found in the urine, which may mean that the kidney injury is still initial or situational albuminuria, which happens after intense physical exercise and in urinary infections, for example. See more information about microalbuminuria;
  • Macroalbuminuria, in which large concentrations of albumin are seen, indicating a more extensive kidney problem.

The presence of albumin in the urine is considered normal when a concentration of less than 30 mg is seen in 24 hours. When quantities and albumin above the value considered normal by the laboratory are verified, the doctor usually indicates the repetition of the exam after 1 month to confirm the diagnosis.

Causes of albuminuria

Albuminuria usually happens due to kidney problems, such as glomerulonephritis or nephritis, or as a consequence of situations that can interfere with kidney activity, such as:

Albumin can also be present in the urine after intense physical exercise, in urinary infections, in fever, dehydration, and stress, being called situational albuminuria. Albuminuria is usually asymptomatic, however, the presence of foam in the urine may be indicative of the presence of proteins. See what are the causes of foam in the urine.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for albuminuria depends on its cause and is done according to the guidance of the nephrologist or urologist. In general, patients with microalbuminuria respond satisfactorily to the drugs prescribed for the underlying disease. On the other hand, in the most severe cases, protein replacement may be necessary.

During treatment for albuminuria, it is important to keep constant control of blood pressure, as the increase in pressure can further damage the kidneys.

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