Most parents look forward to the day when their child is completely toilet-trained and in full control of his or her excretory bodily functions. But some kids may continue to have problems with their urination patterns. They may use the bathroom more often than normal or even wet the bed. If a visit to the pediatrician reveals the presence of proteins in the child’s urine, it may be an indication that the youngster’s kidneys are not functioning properly – which may be a precursor for kidney disease.
When the blood moves through the kidneys, salt and waste fluids are filtered out and excreted by the body in the form of urine. Proteins are too big to get filtered by the kidneys because they are designed to remain in the body. However, if an inordinate amount of proteins are present in the urine, this is usually a sign that the kidneys are not working. This condition is called proteinuria.
Proteins are the basic structural molecules of the body’s tissues. All of the organs and muscles in the body as well as its immune system are made up of proteins. These proteins are also needed to produce hormones, antibodies, blood clotting factors, and enzymes. Good sources of protein are found in foods like meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, cheese, chick peas, beans, soybeans, navy beans, and pinto beans.
There are numerous conditions and diseases that can cause proteinuria. Some of the most common include diabetes, high blood pressure, and Epstein-Barr virus (a common virus which can lead to mononucleosis). It is also possible for proteinuria to result from kidney disease, kidney stones, a urinary tract infection, or lupus (an autoimmune disease where the body attacks healthy tissues and organs).
Symptoms Indicating Kidney Disease
A child who suffers from kidney disease may show symptoms like swelling in the face, ankles, feet, or around the eyes (which is also known as edema). There is often an increased frequency of urination which may be accompanied by a burning sensation, and there could also be traces of blood in the urine. The afflicted child may not be able to control his or her urination, which can frequently lead to bedwetting. He or she might also suffer from fever or high blood pressure (hypertension).
Parents should watch their children for warning signs of proteinuria like swelling of the face and limbs or increased urination frequency. If a parent suspects that his or her child may be suffering from kidney disease, a doctor must be consulted immediately. If treatment for kidney disease is delayed, the ailment may become more severe.
Following certain preventive measures can reduce the frequency of infection:
Parents and family members should not smoke near the child; secondhand smoke is dangerous and can trigger allergies.
It may be advisable to limit the amount of time a child spends in daycare because it can increase exposure to germs, especially during the winter months.
Proper hygienic practices, including frequent hand washing and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, should be taught.
Having tissues handy, keeping the child’s immunizations up to date, and preventing exposure to anyone who feels “under the weather” are key preventive measures.
In children with an immunodeficiency, certain vaccines should not be administered to avoid vaccine-associated infection.
There is a sea of germs out there, and from infancy to young adulthood, a child will be exposed and become susceptible to infection. The majority of children will outgrow recurring infections and become healthy adults. Basic habits such as good hand washing are a first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses. Regular immunization can also help prevent childhood diseases.
If your child has repeated infections, consult a physician to check for the existence of a congenital or acquired immunodeficiency state. Appropriate and timely treatment can be a lasting contribution to your child’s health.