Protein in my urine
Hi everyone, New to the board. Have had lupus since 1983, and have had all of the symptoms listed on the board that is now causing heartache and pain for others. I have been pretty lucky as far as living a somewhat normal, functioning life. I was very ill the first year after being dx. Was in the hospital for a month on high iv's of steroids for lupus of the CNS, other than waking up each and every day with some form of aches and pain, and the meds causing my body to fall apart, I 'm o.k. until now. The Dr. did a 24 hr urine and found some protein in my urine, said it was probably a low grade kidney infection caused by the lupus and sent me to the kidney Dr. I went today and he said my kidneys are functioning great, I feel real good, actually better than I have for a long time. No blood in urine and other than the protein, the other lab work is fine. I have had HBP for the laast couple of months, which they say is a sign of a kidney problem. Anyway, he gave me a mild, not the wicked ace inhibitor, (Altace, 5mg), will have blood and urine tests, and an ultra sound of my kidney and bladder. I am a little afraid, course as usual, I try to tell myself that there really isn't much I can do about whatever is wrong. I just hate being at the mercy of the doctors and all this wicked medication we all have to take to stay alive. As all of you have probably said as I have many times. It is a catch-22. I immediately read all I could on protein in urine and found it could be something simple or something dreadful. I am just wondering how I could feel so good and have something real bad wrong with my kidneys? I would welcome any and all replies to my email address or the board. I am really concerned and don't have anyone to talk to about all this. I will also answer any questions you guys might have about symptoms if I know about it. Thank you for listening. Linda
Hi - I've had Type 4 Lupus Nephritis for 1 1/2 years now and am doing great. I've had A LOT of protein in urine and have known people with even worse kidney probs than I had. We all react differently to the meds, but you are right, kidney issues can be simple or severe. I hope you like your Nephrologist - this is important.
Good luck! I will be thinking of you!
Welcome lm! I'm fairly new as well, and haven't had the kidney involvement issues you have. My doc tells me, though, that kidney issues are rarely felt, the show up in lab tests first.
hugs, and welcome to the group here!
Hello and Welcome Linday;
Protein in the urine usually indicates some form of kidney involvment. Kidney involvement in lupus rarely causes discomfort or pain (as distinct, for example, from kidney stones or infection). The most common major kidney problem is that of the protein leakage in the urine. This can be mild and detected only on testing, or severe gradually leading to a lowering of the protein level in the blood (a low albumin level). When this happens there is a tendency to ankle swelling, to fluid retention and to general fluid bloating.
When the kidney is inflamed, the blood pressure frequently rises and blood pressure measurement is one of the important parts of the physical examination of lupus patients. When the kidney is more severely damaged its normal filtering process is grossly impaired and toxic elements such as urea and creatinine, normally present in the blood in small amounts, build up leading to weight loss, nausea and general malaise.
If you are losing protein in the urine ('proteinuria') then the amount may need to be quantified. For this a 24-hour urine preparation is required. All the urine over a full 24-hour period is collected and the precise amount of protein lost over this period is measured. For other urine constituents the sample is sent to the laboratory for analysis for bacteria and for microscopic examination. Normal urine under the microscope is clear but when there is inflammation anywhere in the urinary tract (in the kidneys or the bladder) cells are present, either red cells or white cells. More important is the presence of clumps of cells called 'casts'. These clumps - looking rather like a railway train of goods wagons - is indicative of kidney inflammation.
Almost all doctors agree that when there is kidney inflammation, a combination of steroids and an immunosuppressive medicine is required. For active or severe kidney disease the most widely used immunosuppressive is cyclophosphamide. Immunosuppressives can affect the blood count and regular blood counts are mandatory. Other immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporin-A are increasingly used but the two mainstays of treatment remain cyclophosphamide and azathioprine.
I hope that this information has been helpful
Peace and Blessings
While protein in the urine can mean something serious, it can also show up, along with ketones, just because of stress, so don't panic. If it's constant, then follow-up, but don't panic right away. I've had both in my urine many, many times, and then they've both disappeared, so I try not to worry.
The reason it can be scary is that protein molecules shouldn't be able to pass through kidney tissue as they're very large, so it can indicate damage. But since it can also indicate that you're freaked out because of some other disaster, try to stay calm until someone tells you there's a reason to fear.
We have so many symptoms in so many systems to monitor full-time, it is all too easy to panic prematurely. I have backed off of doctor visits and tests because it was becoming all-consuming. Once I stabilized, I decided to chill out--there'd been too many years of feeling crazy, so I've tried to focus on other things and not focus on the Dance with Death, as I had taken to calling it after my neurological system got involved.
And, like you, I hate that feeling of being at the mercy of doctors, drugs, a disease that has no cure and only poor maintenance options, so I've sort of decided to sit down and stop dancing.
I hope your kidneys are okay, but first, try to keep your mind well.
Make life into art.