Glucose, a form of sugar, is the body’s main source of energy. Protein is a significant part of your skin, hair, organs, bones, glands and muscles and is present in all of your body fluids except bile and urine. Both glucose and protein come from the foods you eat. Although the body cannot function normally without protein or glucose, excessive amounts in the urine is a sign of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.
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Abnormally high levels of protein in the urine result in a condition called proteinuria, which is usually a sign of chronic kidney disease. Left untreated, it can cause kidney damage and eventually end-stage renal disease, or kidney failure. High blood pressure and diabetes are common contributors to proteinuria.
High levels of glucose in your urine may indicate hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which often indicates the onset of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, hyperglycemia is a contributing factor for complications with diabetes. A person with type 1 diabetes may get hyperglycemia if he doesn’t give himself enough insulin or his body isn’t effectively utilizing insulin if he has type 2 diabetes. Illnesses such as a flu or cold and even stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Untreated hyperglycemia can lead to ketoacidosis, which can result in diabetic coma and even death..
Your kidneys are the body’s filtering system, working to purify your blood by removing waste and extra fluid. The waste and extra fluid constitute your urine, which flows to the bladder, where it is stored until you urinate. Diabetes is one of the main causes of kidney disease, the second being high blood pressure. High blood sugar forces the kidneys to work harder and, over time, the kidneys function less efficiently.
Symptoms to Watch
Urine that is foamy in appearance is an early symptom of proteinuria. As proteinuria progresses, edema may occur. Edema is a condition in which fluid builds up in the body and causes swelling in the feet, hands, face and abdomen. Other symptoms that require immediate medical attention are sudden increased thirst, frequent urination, poor appetite, weakness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping and upset stomach.
Regular urine testing is the only way to prevent kidney damage from excess protein or glucose. Individuals with type 1 or 2 diabetes -- or a family history of diabetes and kidney disease -- are advised to have regular urine testing. High-risk groups for high-blood pressure and diabetes, such as Hispanics/Latinos, African-Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islander Americans, obese individuals and the elderly, should also have regular urine testing. Adapting a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise and medication, if necessary, is another measure you can take to maintain normal protein and blood sugar levels.