What is a high level of protein in urine?

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What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby kamden80 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 05:05 pm

Hi everyone! I'm new to the site. I was reviewing my medical records from my sons birth in 2007 and saw that my protein was +4, but I don't really know what that means. Is that excessively high, a moderate amount or a little amount? This was from 1 urine collection, not a 24 hour collection.

Thanks for any/all input!
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby snpdrgn » Fri Dec 18, 2009 06:01 pm

Unless I a mistaken:

+1 = up to 100+
+2 = 200 to 299
+3 = 300 to 399
+4 - 400 to 499

And according to my doctor anything 300 or over can be considered preeclampsia evident so its high but not REALLY REALLY high. I was at 600 at 10 weeks and over 1800 at like 20 something weeks but I have a kidney disease so I am a different story all together ;)
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby trish » Fri Dec 18, 2009 06:19 pm

Snpdrgn it would be nice if it was that easy to correlate dips to protein levels but it's not. 1+ could be well over 300 for some people or barely over 100 for others. 2+ could still be under 300 (and not diagnostic for PE) or it could be closer to 1,000. The only way to really know protein level is to do a 24 hour test.

4+ is a significant amount of protein usually. You must have had several other symptoms though for them to have delivered you at 27 weeks. Protein is considered a "soft marker" and usually we're not induced for that alone. How are you & Emerson doing now? Welcome!!
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby kamden80 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 06:26 pm

Thank you both! :)

Trish, the short version of the very, very long story is that 14 hours after going to the ER because my doctor suspected pre-e, Em's heart stopped and they had to do the c-section. An ambulance was actually on their way to transfer me to a different hospital because at the time, mine did not have a Level III NICU.

I actually had no other symptoms, besides outrageous bp and proteinuria. I did have a staph infection (unrelated to the pre-e) in my finger so I felt crappy from that, but no swelling, vision loss or any of the other typical pre-e indicators. If I hadn't gone to the doctor for my finger, I likely would have had ecclempsia at home because I would have never known my bp was so high. Very scary, I'm so thankful for that staph infection! :)

And Em and I doing GREAT! He is a healthy, happy, HUGE 25 month old! My husband and are are in the beginning stages of thinking to TTC so I will be around here a lot! To say I am terrified is basically the understatement of the year.
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby snpdrgn » Fri Dec 18, 2009 06:36 pm

I found this online:

Qualitative Methods
The dipstick method (e.g., Albustix, Multistix) provides an estimate of urinary protein concentration and is widely used in both physician offices and clinical laboratories. Proteins in solution cause a change in the color of a reagent strip impregnated with tetrabromophenol blue. Because tetrabromophenol is a pH indicator, the dipstick is buffered to prevent the influence of normal variations in urine pH on color change. False-positive results can be obtained when the urine is alkaline (pH greater than 7) or when it contains heavy mucus, blood, pus, semen or vaginal secretions. The strips react preferentially with albumin and are relatively insensitive to other proteins such as gamma globulins. The amount of protein in the urine is assessed as 1+ (30 mg per dL), 2+ (100 mg per dL), 3+ (300 mg per dL) or 4+ (1,000 mg per dL).

So I definitely was wrong... I know that some tests like the one my nephrologist uses caps off at 3+ (it doesnt have a 4+ option) so that means that if you are a 3+ you are at least 300 or possibly way more (as far as my kidney doctor is concerned not necessarily the main standard).

To say that the dipstick is accurate isnt always correct either because dehydration and some other issues can affect protein count (but not usually by THAT much) so Trish is right in that its not great for diagnostic but at least gives you an idea if there is problems.
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby trish » Fri Dec 18, 2009 06:39 pm

Never thought I'd say thank goodness for a staph infection!! How scary that his heart stopped but how wonderful that he is doing so well now!! My 3rd DD is almost 2 and was nearly full term but she is tiny. 21-22 lbs & about 31 inches, fitting comfortably in most 12 month clothes. She was quite a surprise but I am so thankful for her. :)

This forum is such a wonderful source of information & support. I hope you stick around while you consider TTC. :) Being around people who "get" how stressful pregnancy can be is so comforting.
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby Guest » Fri Dec 18, 2009 06:59 pm

I love the name Emerson! What a scary experience, but that staph infection was certainly a blessing. I'm so glad your son is doing well today!

As for the dip tests.... I never had more than "trace" last pregnancy on dip tests, but my 24-hour was 500 (and more). I have absolutely no idea why this is. I'm nervous for my next 24-hour test because I recently got a +1 dip. So, anyway, I say all of this to agree with Trish that the correlation between dip test and reality (24 hour test) is very very poor.

snpdrgn - that website you found said that false positives are possible due to highly alkaline urine. I wonder if false negatives can happen with very acidic urine. I tend to have low pH urine. I don't know... just a thought.
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby rebecca2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 06:59 pm

Welcome to the boards Jamie. I didn't have any vision problems, swelling, etc. It was just that crazy BP & protein. I also wanted to say while in the hospital I was dipping some trace and +1, but my 24 hr urine came back around 1000. It varies so much based on hydration.
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby jamie w » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:50 pm

I was having negative dips but had 1000mg on a 24 hr.
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Re : What is a high level of protein in urine?

Postby brin » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:57 am

I just saw a nephrologist to rule out underlying kidney issues and she told me that dipsticks in the OB's office are useful in identifying when they should be concerned but that they are not something she'd consider diagnostic. She said that they do not measure concentration which can heavily affect the protein # (ie: very concentrated urine will usually get a higher # then diluted, even if the diluted is actually higher in protein). The best use in her opinion is to determine who needs to do the 24 hour urine. Now that said, +4 is pretty high no matter what!

Im glad your son is doing well!
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