Definition of Albuminuria

Excessive excretion of albumin, a form of protein, into the urine. Albuminuria, also called proteinuria, typically indicates kidney conditions that affect the glomeruli (the tubular structures within the kidneys that filter wastes and excess water from the blood to excrete in the urine).

Such conditions include glomerulonephritisglomerulosclerosisnephrotic syndrome, and nephropathy of diabetes or of hypertension (high blood pressure). Albuminuria may accompany cardiovascular diseases such as endocarditis and chronic inflammatory diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (sle) and rheumatoid arthritis. Strenuous physical exercise also can cause transient albuminuria without kidney disease.

Albuminuria does not itself cause symptoms. Most often the doctor detects albuminuria through urinalysis done during a routine medical examination. Treatment targets the underlying cause. In the circumstance of chronic kidney disease, monitoring the urine albumin level is one method for assessing the status of kidney function.

The urologist may conduct further diagnostic procedures such as ultrasound or kidney biopsy when the cause is undetermined. Persistent albuminuria typically suggests progressive damage to the kidneys regardless of the underlying cause.

See also AMYLOIDOSIS; MINIMAL CHANGE DISEASE.

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