Reference Index - Medical Tests

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White nail syndrome
White nail syndrome


Protein urine test
Protein urine test


Protein - urine

Definition:

A protein urine test measures the amount of proteins, such as albumin, found in a urine sample.

A blood test may also be done to measure the level of albumin. See: Serum albumin



Alternative Names:

Urine protein; Albumin - urine; Urine albumin; Proteinuria; Albuminuria



How the test is performed:

Urine protein may be tested using a random sample of urine and a dipstick test, or it may require a 24-hour urine sample. See: 24-hour urine protein



How to prepare for the test:

Your health care provider may tell you to temporarily stop taking any drugs that can interfere with test results.

Drugs that can affect measurements include:

  • Acetazolamide
  • Aminoglycosides
  • Amphotericin B
  • Cephalosporins
  • Colistin
  • Griseofulvin
  • Lithium
  • Methicillin
  • Nafcillin
  • Kidney damaging drugs
  • Oxacillin
  • Penicillamine
  • Penicillin G
  • Phenazopyridine
  • Polymyxin B
  • Salicylates
  • Sulfonamides
  • Tolbutamide

The following may also interfere with test results.

  • Dehydration
  • Severe emotional stress
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Receiving a special dye (contrast media) for a radiology exam within 3 days before the urine test
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urine contaminated with vaginal secretions


How the test will feel:

The test only involves normal urination, and there is no discomfort.



Why the test is performed:

This test is most often performed when kidney disease is suspected. It may be used as a screening test.

Normally, protein is not found in urine when a routine dipstick test is performed. This is because the kidney is supposed to keep large molecules, such as protein, in the blood and only filter out smaller impurities. Even if small amounts of protein do get through, they are normally reabsorbed by the body and used as a source of energy.

Some proteins will appear in the urine if the levels of protein in blood become high, even when the kidney is functioning properly.

If the kidney is diseased, protein will appear in the urine even if blood levels are normal.



Normal Values:

For a random urine sample, the normal values are approximately 0 to 8 mg/dL.

For a 24-hour urine collection, the normal value is less than 150 mg per 24 hours.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.



What abnormal results mean:

Abnormal results may be due to:

Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:



What the risks are:

There are no risks.



References:

Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 115.




Review Date: 8/7/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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