Albuminuria and chronic kidney disease

Now that you’ve received the results from your at-home urine test, you can learn more about how well your kidneys are working.

What is albuminuria?

Albumin is a type of protein that is normally found in the blood. Your body needs protein. It is an important nutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and fight infection. But it should be in your blood, not your urine. When you have albumin (protein) in your urine, it is called albuminuria or proteinuria.

What’s wrong with having albumin (protein) in my urine?

One of the main jobs of your kidneys is to filter your blood. Your kidneys keep important things your body needs, like protein, in your blood. They also remove things your body doesn’t need, like waste products and extra water.

If your kidneys are healthy, you should have very little or no protein in your urine. But if your kidneys are damaged, protein can leak out of the kidneys into your urine. Having protein in your urine may be an early sign of chronic kidney disease (CKD) but it can also be due to other reasons.

Learn more about albuminuria

What is CKD?

CKD happens when your kidneys are not working as well as they should. As CKD gets worse, your kidneys are not able to filter waste from your blood and you may start to feel sick.

Does CKD have any symptoms?

Most people do not have severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, these are some of the common signs that you may have CKD:

  • feel more tired and have less energy
  • trouble concentrating
  • poor appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • muscle cramping at night
  • swollen feet and ankles
  • puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
  • dry, itchy skin
  • need to urinate more often, especially at night

What causes CKD?

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common reasons that people develop CKD.

  • Diabetes can develop when your blood sugar is too high, causing damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves and eyes.

Learn more about diabetes and CKD

  • High blood pressure happens when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled, or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can be a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and CKD. Also, CKD can be cause high blood pressure.

Learn more about high blood pressure and CKD

If you have diabetes and/or high blood pressure, or if you are older, or have a close family member with CKD you are at higher risk for developing kidney disease. Additionally, we now know there are non-medical reasons why some people may be at higher risk for developing kidney disease, which include:

  • Where someone lives
  • Where they work
  • The foods they eat
  • How much exercise they get
  • If they are able to get the medical care they need

Learn more about CKD

What should I do now?

Contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Tell them about the results of your urine test and make an appointment for an in-person visit, telehealth call, or home lab testing. The sooner CKD is found the better chance there is of slowing down or stopping the disease from getting worse.  Your healthcare professional will likely want to do another urine test to check the protein levels and also do a simple blood test to check your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), which measures how well your kidneys remove waste from your body.

Learn more about estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)

Learn more about albuminuria

Learn more about your kidneys

What do kidneys do and why are they important? Read more

Have additional questions? We can help!

Call toll-free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.2273) or email nkfcares@kidney.org. We speak English and Spanish and are available Monday - Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern Time.