Tracking down the cause of proteinuria in primary care

Gareth Lewis, Alexander P Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Proteinuria originates from the kidney and occurs as a result of injury to either the glomerulus or the renal tubule or both. It is relatively common in the general population with reported point prevalence of up to 8% but the prevalence falls to around 2% on repeated testing. Chronic glomerular injury resulting in proteinuria may be secondary to prolonged duration of diabetes or hypertension. A tubular origin of proteinuria may be associated with inflammation of renal tubules triggered by prescribed drugs or ingested toxins. In the absence of obvious clues to the cause of persistent proteinuria on history or clinical examination it is worthwhile reviewing the patient's prescribed drugs to identify any potentially nephrotoxic agents e.g. NSAIDs. NICE guidelines recommend screening for proteinuria in individuals at higher risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). These include patients with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, connective tissue disorders, a family history of renal disease and those prescribed potentially nephrotoxic drugs. Patients with sudden onset of lower limb oedema and associated proteinuria should have a serum albumin level measured to exclude the nephrotic syndrome. Renal tract ultrasound will measure kidney size, and detect scarring associated with chronic pyelonephritis or prior renal stone disease which can cause proteinuria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-22, 2-3
Number of pages4
JournalThe Practitioner
Issue number1758
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Proteinuria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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