Nephrotic Syndrome

What is Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic Syndrome actually describes a group of symptoms that can be caused by different diseases that can result in damaged kidneys.  The damage results in having too much protein in the urine.

The condition can come about from diseases such as minimal change disease (in children), immune disorders, cancer, diabetes, genetic disorders, infections, and the use of some drugs. This syndrome is more common in males and when it happens to children it is usually when they are 2-6 years old.

What are the Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome?

There are many symptoms that may occur if you have nephrotic syndrome.  Swelling is the most common one that derives from the collection of liquids and it can be visible in the face, in the belly, or in the feet and ankles or other parts of the arms and legs.

People with nephrotic syndrome can also have sores, rashes, a poor appetite, seizures, weight gain, and a foamy look to their urine.

Nephrotic Syndrome Causes

Nephrotic syndrome is caused by the inability of the kidneys to properly filter out protein in urine. When the glomeruli in the kidneys are damaged, they will allow too much protein to pass in the urine, resulting in the development of the nephrotic syndrome.

There are a variety of conditions that are known to lead to the damage of the kidneys that causes nephrotic syndrome. Hepatitis infections, malaria and HIV are among the major infective causes of glomeruli damage.

Diabetes is a major cause of kidney damage and nephrotic syndrome. When blood sugar is not controlled properly, the kidneys must work too hard and are damaged. Diabetes is responsible for damage to multiple organs in the body.

In addition to diabetes, there are other medical conditions and syndromes known to cause nephrotic syndrome. Those with lupus often develop the condition – as do people with amyloidosis. Children with minimal change disease have a high rate of nephrotic syndrome development.

In addition to these causes, there are medications that are known to damage the kidneys. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs taken for long periods or at a high dosage are known to damage kidneys. Some antibiotics taken at a high dosage will damage the kidneys as well.

How is Nephrotic Syndrome Treated?

The main goal of treatment is to delay damages to the kidney and to prevent complications that may arise.  Relieving the symptoms is also part of the treatment program. The disorder that brought about nephrotic syndrome much be acknowledged and addressed.

Some of the treatments that may be used include drugs to suppress the immune system like corticosteroids, treat the high cholesterol that lead to problems, and making sure the blood pressure is no higher than 130/80 mm Hg.  In the latter case, ACE inhibitors, are used most often.  Diets low in salt and protein may also be suggested and vitamin D supplements have also been suggested by doctors.  Blood thinners will help prevent blood clots.

Nephrotic Syndrome Prevention

One way to help prevent damage to the kidneys and nephrotic syndrome is to keep the kidneys in the healthiest state possible. The best way to do this is to drink plenty of water each day. Doctors recommend drinking at least six to eight glasses of water each day.

Diet is also important in keeping kidneys at their best. A diet low in sodium puts less strain on the kidneys’ filtration system. A diet low in cholesterol aids with kidney function.

Kidneys may be damaged by high blood pressure, so it is important to keep one’s blood pressure within a normal range. Cutting back on sodium and exercising will help to keep blood pressure low.

Diabetes is a major factor in nephrotic syndrome development. Keeping one’s blood sugar level in the normal range is very important. Always follow the doctor’s treatment plan to keep blood sugar in check.