If you or a loved one has nephrotic syndrome, you know the effect that high protein levels can have on overall health. It's usually difficult to manage and navigate. However, knowing the factors that impact this disorder and regularly testing for protein in your urine can help you manage it and optimize your diet and medication dosage.
What Is Nephrotic Syndrome?
Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder that occurs when your glomeruli — small clusters of blood vessels in your kidney that filter the blood — become inflamed and allow too much protein to leak from your blood into your urine.
What about nephrotic vs nephritic syndrome? Put simply, nephrotic syndrome is an excess amount of protein in the urine (proteinuria). In nephritic syndrome, on the other hand, the urine primarily contains blood (hematuria) in addition to protein and white blood cells. However, protein levels are significantly greater in nephrotic syndrome.
Protein in urine greater than 300-350 mg in a 24-hour sample (or a spot-urine test) is clinically recognized as nephrotic range proteinuria1.
Nephrotic syndrome is most common in adults, but there can also be excess protein in a child's urine, especially between the ages of two and six. Protein in child's urine that is in the nephrotic range is called pediatric nephrotic syndrome. Women can also deal with nephrotic syndrome in pregnancy, as well as preeclampsia, which can cause high blood pressure and proteinuria during pregnancy.
Your provider may also recommend statin medications to lower your cholesterol, a diuretic to help your kidneys remove fluid from your blood, and calcium channel blockers or beta-blockers to help lower your blood pressure.
If you have nephrotic syndrome, diet can help relieve some of your symptoms even though it doesn't prevent or cause it.
For example, nephrotic syndrome can increase your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. If you are searching for a nephrotic syndrome diet, it is advisable to eat a diet low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol to help control your triglyceride and cholesterol levels and related symptoms. Your diet can include the following foods:
fresh or frozen vegetables
fresh or frozen fruit
soybeans and dried beans
It's best to avoid foods such as:
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A urine protein (albumin) to creatinine ratio test, conducted using a dipstick, is another useful test to check relative levels of protein and creatinine excreted in the urine. Urine albumin to creatinine ratio test is often conducted at the lab or a doctor's office.
If your doctor says you have a high urine protein-creatinine ratio, your nephrotic range is greater than 300-350 mg/mmol. If you are at risk for nephrotic range proteinuria, or already have it, they can help you diagnose the real cause and take measures for clinical intervention if needed.
A protein-to-creatine ratio greater than 300-350 mg/mmol is considered nephrotic range proteinuria1.
Measure Your Urine Protein Levels With At-Home Urine Protein Test Strips
When you have proteinuria, nephrotic syndrome can begin to affect your quality of life. Regularly measuring your urine protein levels with at-home protein urine test strips can help you monitor your health condition.
Diagnox provides Urine Protein Test Strips and Urinox-10 Dipstick Test to help you monitor your kidney function and detect high protein levels. The Urinox-10 also measures nine other important parameters to help you gain a holistic view of your health.
Hull R P, Goldsmith D J., “Nephrotic syndrome in adults,” BMJ. 2008 May 24;336(7654):1185-9.
NKD Staff, “10 Common Habits That May Harm Your Kidneys,” National Kidney Foundation. Accessed, Jan. 18, 2023.
C. Stoll, “Protein in Urine and It’s Relationship to Kidney Health,” Diagnox Health, Accessed Jan. 18, 2023.
N. Valentine, "Protein in Urine During Pregnancy – Symptoms, Test, Treat, and Prevent," Diagnox Health, Accessed January 31, 2023.
About the Author
Alexis Williams is a Georgia-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. She uses that thirst combined with her experience in various fields to write about subjects valuable to individuals and businesses. Alexis has a robust catalog of experience that includes SEO content, blogging, product reviews/comparisons, research papers, and more.
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