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Protein Loss and the 24 Hour Urinalysis

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 6/28/2011

Someone with suspected protein loss will be scheduled for a 24 hour urinalysis and protein loss test. If this is test is necessary, the person's urine is collected over a 24 hour period to detect the amount of proteins being lost from the body.

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    An Overview of Proteins

    Someone with suspected protein loss will be scheduled for a 24 hour urinalysis and protein loss test. If this is test is necessary, the person's urine is collected over a 24 hour period to detect the amount of proteins being lost from the body. This is necessary to evaluate how the body is filtering the amount of proteins in the blood that reaches the kidneys.

    Proteins are compounds that are formed by a collection of amino acids. They are occur naturally within the body and can be obtained in the diet from eggs, meat, dairy products, and fish. When ingested, they are broken down into their component amino acids and then restructured to form vital structures such as enzymes, collagen, or hemoglobin in red blood cells. Therefore, proteins can be found in the body in every living cell and tissue.

    Amino acids or proteins are usually produced and stored in the liver, and released into the blood stream as needed. The protein produced in highest concentration by the liver is albumin. As all of the blood is filtered through the kidneys to remove harmful wastes, a normally functioning kidney should not filter out proteins as they are needed by the body. Therefore, any presence of proteins in the urine can alert the physician to abnormal kidney function.

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    Why Is The Test Ordered?

    The 24 hour urinalysis and protein loss test is to monitor a patient’s filtration rate and detect the presence of amino acids and proteins within the urine. The test is usually ordered for someone with suspected primary kidney disease such as polycystic kidney disease, or in the case of suspected secondary kidney disease caused by another condition, for example, such as multiple myeloma, a type of cancer.

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    How Is The Test Performed?

    The test involves giving the person a plastic bottle, and having the person collect all of their urine into the bottle over a twenty-four hour period. Afterwards the urine sample can be analyzed for the presence of proteins. The test can also be ordered after a positive urine dipstick test for the presence of proteins, but a urine dipstick test might not be carried out beforehand.

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    Urinalysis Test Results

    If the 24 hour urinalysis and protein loss test does show the presence of urine amino acids and proteins, then this should indicate a problem within the filtering apparatus of the kidney. In the normal kidney function, proteins are not lost in any part of the kidney. Kidney diseases such as hypertension, polycystic kidney disease, or glomerulonephritis can all produce the presence of amino acids and proteins in urine. The presence of proteins in the urine is called proteinuria, and based on your test results, more specific kidney function tests will help the physician pinpoint your the exact diagnosis.

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    References

    Print Source: Davidson, Stanley & C. Haslett. 2002. "Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine." Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.

    Print Source: Cotran R, Kumar V, and Robbins, SL. 1999. Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 6th Ed. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia.

    Web Source: Lab Tests Online, American Association For Clinical Chemistry. "Urine Protein." 2010. Available: http://www.labtestsonline.org.uk/understanding/analytes/urine_protein/sample.html