Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
New York, NY
May 1 , 1999
In a report published in the May issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recommends testing for proteinuria, or too much protein in the urine, which is an early warning sign of kidney disease, stroke and heart disease. The position paper is the result of a consensus conference and four town hall-style meetings convened on these issues as part of NKF's Proteinuria Albuminuria Risk Assessment Detection and Elimination (PARADE) program.
According to NKF, testing for excess protein in the urine should be conducted as part of routine physician visits, especially in high risk groups, which include people with diabetes, high blood pressure or close relatives with those conditions. Protein in the urine is more common in African-Americans, Hispanics, Native-Americans, the obese, the elderly and people with a family history of kidney disease.
If results of this urine dipstick test are positive, the foundation recommends repeat testing within three months to confirm results. If patients continue to test positive, a consultation with a nephrologist, or kidney specialist, is recommended. Test results exceeding 150 mg of protein in the urine are considered above the normal range.
"PARADE's primary goal is to add proteinuria to the list of traditional risk factors for loss of kidney function, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and family history, and also to the list of risk factors for heart disease and stroke which include cholesterol, smoking and family history," says Garabed Eknoyan, M.D., immediate past president of the National Kidney Foundation and co-chair of PARADE.
According to the NKF, excess protein in the urine is not just an indicator of kidney disease, it is also the cause of progressive loss of kidney function. Therefore, strategies to reduce the levels of protein in the urine can slow down the rate of kidney failure.
"Testing for proteinuria, particularly in high risk individuals, can identify people at risk for developing kidney disease before they notice any symptoms. If we can identify elevated urinary protein levels early, those at risk can be treated through diet, blood pressure control and medications and we may be able to prevent the serious effects of kidney and heart disease," says William Keane, MD, co-chair of PARADE.
The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.
PARADE is supported by Hoechst Marion Roussel USA, a leader in pharmaceutical- based health care committed to the discovery and delivery of prescription drugs and to providing value-added patient support programs.