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Proteinuria: Care Instructions

Kidneys, ureters, and bladder in body, with detail showing blood from body to kidney, kidney filtering blood to remove waste (urine), urine sent to bladder, and filtered blood flowing back to body.

Your Care Instructions

You have proteinuria, which means that you have protein in your urine. This is usually caused by a kidney problem. It may be puzzling to find out that you have a problem with your kidneys, because you probably do not feel different.

Your body's blood passes through your kidneys, where it is cleaned of waste products. The kidneys then expel waste products in the urine. If your kidneys are not working well, they let some protein get in your urine. A high level of protein in your urine is a sign that something is damaging your kidneys.

Your doctor may do more tests to find out what is causing the protein to get into your urine. Possible causes include an infection or a medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease. You may need regular urine tests in the future. You may be able to reduce the protein in your urine by getting exercise, eating a healthy diet, and taking medicine.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Work with your doctor and dietitian to set up a diet that will be healthy for you. You may need to:
    • Eat a heart-healthy diet to keep the fat (cholesterol) in your blood under control.
    • Eat a low-salt diet to keep your blood pressure at normal levels.
    • Limit protein in your foods.
    • Limit the amount of fluids you drink.
  • If you have diabetes, try to keep your blood sugar at normal or near-normal levels.
    • Follow your diet. Eat a variety of foods, with carbohydrate spread out in your meals.
    • If your doctor recommends it, get more exercise. Walking is a good choice. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk every day. Try for at least 2½ hours a week.
    • Check your blood sugar as often as your doctor recommends.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking raises your risk of many health problems, including kidney damage. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Do not take ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or similar medicines, unless your doctor tells you to. These medicines may make kidney problems worse.
  • Check with your doctor before taking any natural health products or over-the-counter medicines.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.