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Leaky kidney is a common term to describe kidney conditions that excrete too much protein in the urine. In the medical world this term is better known as proteinuria
Proteinuria or albuminuria occurs when the urine contains too much protein. Leaking protein into the urine is usually caused by damage to the small blood vessels (glomeruli) in the kidneys, so they cannot filter blood properly.
Although it is dangerous, there is a tolerance limit for the presence of protein in the urine. The average normal limit for protein excreted in the urine ranges from 5-10 mg per day. The presence of protein in the urine of 30–300 mg or more per day may indicate a kidney problem.
What are the Causes of Leaky Kidneys?
There are certain diseases and conditions that can cause leaky kidneys, including:
1. Diabetic nephropathy
Diabetic nephropathy can be one of the causes of leaky kidneys. When you have diabetes, the glomeruli in your kidneys become thickened.
As a result, the glomeruli which play a role in filtering metabolic waste substances and removing fluids from the body will experience a decrease in function. This is what makes the protein albumin carried into the urine.
In its early stages, this disease may not show any symptoms. Signs and symptoms of new disease will be felt when kidney damage is getting worse. Symptoms that can occur are headaches, fatigue, decreased appetite, and swelling of the legs.
2. Kidney infection
Kidney infection or pyelonephritis can occur due to the transfer of bacteria, such as E. coli, from the lower urinary tract to the kidneys.
Symptoms of kidney infection include fever, chills, pain when urinating, and pain around the abdomen, back, or waist.
If not treated immediately, kidney infection can lead to serious complications in the form of scar tissue in the glomeruli. If this happens, the kidneys will lose their function and cause protein to be carried into the urine (kidney leaks).
3. Lupus nephritis
Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys that occurs due to the influence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus. Lupus itself is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system, which is supposed to protect the body from disease, instead attacks the body's own cells and organs.
This condition can cause the kidneys to become inflamed, thus interfering with kidney function as a filter for waste from the body. As a result, blood and protein are not filtered properly. This is what causes blood and protein in the urine.
The symptoms of lupus nephritis are generally not much different from other kidney disorders, such as the presence of blood and protein in the urine, swelling of the legs, eyes, and abdomen, and foamy and dark urine.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure (hypertension), and high levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria).
Pregnant women suffering from preeclampsia may experience symptoms in the form of pain in the upper abdomen, severe headaches, an increase in blood pressure (more than 140/90 mmHg), protein in the urine, and blurred vision.
However, preeclampsia can sometimes occur without any symptoms.
5. Nephrotic syndrome
Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder that causes the body to lose too much protein through urine. Although nephrotic syndrome is rare, this condition that causes leaky kidneys can be experienced by anyone, both adults and children.
Nephrotic syndrome occurs due to damage to the glomeruli in the kidneys caused by inflammation, blockage of blood vessels, infection, to certain diseases, such as diabetes, lupus, and cancer.
The symptoms of nephropathic syndrome are the presence of protein in the urine, swelling throughout the body, susceptibility to infection, weakness, and foamy urine.
Leaky Kidney Symptoms
Leaky kidneys don't always cause any signs or symptoms. Some sufferers even realize that they have leaky kidneys after undergoing blood tests, urine tests, and kidney function tests.
However, there are several signs that may indicate you have a leaky kidney, namely:
- Foamy or foamy urine
- Swelling in body parts, such as feet, hands, stomach, to face
- Easy to get tired
- Nausea or vomiting
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
- Skin becomes itchy and dry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Electrolyte disturbance
If you experience these symptoms, immediately go to the doctor to find out the exact cause.
How is Leaky Kidney Treated?
Leaky kidney treatment usually depends on the cause of the condition. Some medicines may be prescribed by your doctor to help reduce symptoms and prevent complications.
The drugs include:
1. Blood pressure lowering drugs
This type of drug is useful for controlling blood pressure in the glomeruli and reducing the amount of protein in your urine, which includes ACE inhibitors and ARBs (Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers).
2. Diuretic drugs
Diuretic drugs are useful for reducing swelling in parts of the body due to leaky kidneys. Diuretics include furosemide, spironolactone, and thiazides.
3. Immune system suppressant
This type of drug is useful for suppressing abnormal responses of the immune system and reducing inflammation, such as corticosteroid drugs.
4. Special diet
In addition to using drugs, people with leaky kidneys are advised to adopt a he althy lifestyle and follow a special diet, such as avoiding fatty foods, reducing consumption of foods that contain high protein, and a s alt diet.
Don't hesitate to consult a kidney doctor if you suffer from diseases that can increase the risk of having a leaky kidney. By knowing early on what causes leaky kidneys, you can prevent more serious kidney damage.