Protein in Urine & "Slightly echogenic k... - Early CKD Support

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Protein in Urine & "Slightly echogenic kidneys"



I"m new here and feeling pretty terrified and looking for a little guidance. I had some blood and urine tests done back in May, and the urine test came back and showed very high levels of protein in my urine. Blood work was fine eGFR was at 113 & creatinine was 64 umol/L. Was sent for ultrasound and that came back saying slightly echogenic kidneys possibly to do medical renal disease. Have since had more blood and urine work done, still very high levels of protein in urine and eGFR now showing 100 & creatinine at 71 umol/L. All other blood work is good, no diabetes, no high blood pressure. No history of kidney disease in family. I am waiting for an appointment to see a nephrologist, but there doesn't seem to be any immediate rush. I feel like while I'm waiting around whatever is happening is just getting worse. Does anyone have any idea what is going on, or what I should be doing in the mean time to stay as healthy as possible? I usually run 5k every other day and I have had 1 doctor tell me not to do that anymore, while a different doctor laughed and said that he has never heard that be advised before and to continue running. (Should also say I have made sure not to do any exercise 48 hours prior to blood/urine tests). I'm so very confused. I am 29 years old, female. 5'7, 140 pounds. In decent shape. I have recently stopped taking my birth control as my partner and I were planning on having a baby in the next little while.. I guess I need to put that on hold at least for the time being.

Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated. This is a lovely little community that you have here :)

19 Replies

HI Lihya,

The readings you gave put you in the normal stage of kidney function so that's a good thing. I think you will have to hang in there until you can speak to the doctor to see what is going on. I would not panic with the difference in the labs because GFR and creatinine can fluctuate. You sound like you are very healthy and take good care of yourself. Getting in to see a nephrologist is always difficult especially when your numbers are where they are. Make sure you are drinking enough water, especially on the days you run. Dehydration can cause protein spilling.

Lihyu in reply to Bassetmommer

Thank you so much for your response, It's very much appreciated. Trying hard to stay positive and not panic but is it ever hard! I will definitely make sure to drink enough water and stay hydrated.

Hi. There are many conditions that can cause high levels of protein in the urine. If your blood tests and scans are inconclusive you might need to go down the kidney biopsy route to determine the cause.

Lihyu in reply to LisaEP

I was thinking that might be the case :( Guess I just have to be patient while I wait to see the nephrologist.

LisaEP in reply to Lihyu

The waiting is the worst but persevere and you’ll get answers.

Hi Lihyu and welcome to this caring community. Please stay on this forum where you will continue to receive replies from other members who will offer their support. It is great that you are very healthy and take good care of yourself. Other members have given some helpful advice. Please let us know how you get on with your appointment with the nephrologist.

Are you from the UK, please? I have included below some information websites for you to look at [UK based]. [gives a general overview including health and lifestyle]. Tel 01420 541424 [Mon--Friday 9am--5pm].

Thank you and best wishes.

Lihyu in reply to MAS_Nurse

Thank you so much. I will definitely stay on this forum - it's nice to have support from people that understand how I'm feeling. I'm in Canada, but the links are still very helpful!

SamuelChin in reply to Lihyu

I live in Canada too! Vancouver, BC. Where are you?

Hi. I will tell you of MY experience regarding echogenic. In 2017 I had to have one kidney removed. As you can imagine I had every scan, test, lab work completed that ever existed. Not a single one reported anything about echogenicity on my kidney. Then about 9 months later I had another ultrasound on the remaining kidney. Routine. Well the report came back and in big bold letters it said words to the effect that "echogenicity on remaining kidney, evidence of long standing kidney disease". I of course asked my urologist (I see a kidney doctor every 6 months, who does absolutely nothing except look at results of blood and urine tests). The urologist said, it is like a scar on your kidney. It of course could be caused by some form of kidney "illness". But also as we get older parts of our kidney deteriorate. He gave the example, to look at an elderly person. What happens to us on the outside as we age. People forget that there are severe and similar changes on the inside too. Bottom line ignore the echogenic comment. My question to all my doctors was how could this be from long standing disease, have been there a long time, and yet it was never mentioned in previous scans, labs, etc. They say it all depends on the person reviewing the ultrasound. That I could very well have another ultrasound today, and there would be no mention of it. No matter what, it is slight diminishing of part of the kidney and nothing can change it. As an aside, the person who reviewed the scan and reported the echogenicity also reported that I had a mastectomy on my left breast. The problem is, I'm a male!!! So it goes to show we are at the mercy of the lab person who reviews the scan and makes reports and errors DOOOOOO happen.

Bassetmommer in reply to RickHow

Hi Rick,

Oh, sorry but I had to laugh at the mastectomy. I once had a routine chest x-ray and was called by the lab to come back immediately to have it repeated. I asked why and they said they found a large mass in my lung. I panicked as my mother had passed from lung cancer and at that time I still smoked.

The first mistake was the technician telling me the result. That is never done anymore.

Upon the second x-ray and then the diagnosis....was the first result was the thumb of the technician. ( You can tell this was years ago when they used film.)

Funny now, but not then.

Lihyu in reply to RickHow

Oh my god that is a crazy story! Thank you for sharing. I will definitely try not to focus on the echogenic remark. Especially since it said “slightly” and as you said, that’s just one technicians point of view.

Hi there,

As everyone has said, your kidney function is extremely high at this point and many things can cause high protein in urine. One thing you might want to consider. If you are quite athletic, which it sounds as if you are, you might be supplementing with high protein products such as powders or protein bars. There is a huge push in the marketplace for massive amounts of protein in everything from bars, to chips these days. If that’s the case, you might want to cut out those additional protein supplements and get your protein from Whole Foods and see if that helps.

You asked what you could do to stay healthy. That would be what everyone should aim for to stay at optimal health ( though it is hard with all the yummy prepackaged options out there)- drink lots of water, quit smoking if you do. Drink alcohol only moderately. Reduce sugar and salt intake ( most people consume well over suggested dietary levels for a normal person), cut out processed and in particular fast foods and eat more Whole Foods with lots of fruits and veggies. Adopting these practices at your young age will help you stay healthy and slow down any issues with your kidneys or anything else IF you actually have any.

Lihyu in reply to Zazzel

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond with so much advice! It is very much appreciated.

I have never been one to take protein supplements (or any kind of supplements actually). I have basically stopped eating meat at this point, getting protein from beans, tofu, lentils etc. I have always eaten pretty healthy with lots of good whole foods. Although I probably was over doing it with treats, and eating out (which I have since stopped). I’m really watching my sodium intake and making sure to just have an overall very healthy diet. No alcohol at all - which is a bit hard as my partner and I just bought our first house (with a pool!) and I’m definitley bummed to not be sitting poolside with a drink! But I know it’s worth it, just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Zazzel in reply to Lihyu

Talk to your doctor, but I would think a drink every now and then wouldn’t be harmful. Putting too many restrictions on yourself, especially at this stage can cause a lot of stress which is worse than occasionally having treats or a drink or eating out once in awhile. The changes I was mentioning were if you were always eating poorly and drinking a lot like I did in my 20’s. Sounds like you are doing everything right.

Do you by chance have any stomach issues after eating or possibly an autoimmune disease such as lupus or celiac? Do you have any family history of kidney disease? Was there any blood in urine? Possibly microscopic blood in urine? You might

If the protein leaks continue, ask your doctor about a very, very LOW dose of lisinopril. It is used for high blood pressure, but is also one of the most effective drugs for protein leaks in urine. Several of us on here are on very low doses. I take 1.25 mg which is barely anything. I think several others might take 2.5. Or 5mg which are also really small amounts. Higher amounts can cause side effects and actually might be harmful to the kidneys.

Do you by chance have any stomach issues after eating or possibly an autoimmune disease? Do you have any family history of kidney disease? Was there any blood in urine? Possibly microscopic blood in urine? These are all things to think about when you see your nephrologist. Generally, general doctors don’t get too concerned with kidney disease until your GFR is below 60 which is why they don’t seem too concerned. After finding microscopic blood in my urine, it took many trips to a urologist and several years before sending me to a nephrologist then another year until I had a diagnosis. I have IGA Nephropathy. It is one of the kidney diseases that can be inherited though not the case with me. After changing my diet and doing al, the things you are currently doing, my GFR actually increased, so lifestyle changes at early stages do make a difference in many cases.

It’s good you are getting this all sorted out before you get pregnant, but you are doing all the right things to keep yourself healthy, so put this out of your mind until you meet with the nephrologist and enjoy being young!

Lihyu in reply to Zazzel

Oh, I definitely did my fair share of over doing it with drinking in my early twenties. The last 5 or so years though I have really stopped all that, aside from the odd night getting away from me.

I don't think I really have any stomach issues after eating.. the only thing to note would be that my stomach sometimes makes extremely loud noises after eating, lol. They have tested for lupus and the test came back negative. Celiac is interesting. I hadn't read that that could be a possible cause before. I would imagine that I would be feeling pretty sick to my stomach though if that was the case.. but who knows. I have no history of kidney disease in my family. I just took a look at the tests that they have done and it doesn't actually seem as though they have tested to see if there was blood in my urine, which seems strange.

It must have been so frustrating for you all those years of back and forth appointments not knowing what was going on. I'm so happy you were able to increase your GFR with a healthy lifestyle. It also gives me hope :) I finally have an appointment with a nephrologist on July 8 and I am so eager to find out what is going on. I'm glad I have all this info to bring to them. But! until then I will be doing my very best to not stress and enjoy the lovely weather.

Please stay with us!

And remember all the advice, especially what

Zazzel shared.

Lihyu in reply to newbie56

Thank you! I will :)


We are almost on the same page. Last October, my GP found an elevated protein level in my urine with normal eGFR. (ACR 59.2, eGFR 106, Creatinine 83) However, unlike you, I have high BP, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. So, you are in a much better shape than I do. Remember, maintain a low salt diet, more fruits and veggies, more exercises & drink more water; add fiber, and you are on your way.

When my GFR hit 59 and was flagged a few years ago, my internist sent me for a kidney ultrasound. In order for insurance to pay for the ultrasound, my internist had to write a diagnosis of KIDNEY DISEASE. Well of course, the technician, then the radiologist diagnosed "mild echogenicity indicative of mild kidney disease". Did my internist's prescription/diagnosis have any influence on the technician's or radiologist's diagnosis? You tell me. One kidney was small normal (10cm) and the other was small (9.2cm).

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