Nephrotic syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is a bunch of symptoms which indicate that your kidney is not working properly as it normally does. It includes some symptoms like excess amount of protein in your blood, less amounts of protein in your body, swelling in your body and high amount of cholesterol or fats in your body etc. 


Particularly nephrotic syndrome is not a disease itself. This syndrome is caused by the diseases which are responsible for damaging your kidneys. 


Symptoms of nephrotic syndrome


Some of the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome which are observed by the doctor in most of the nephrotic syndrome patients are listed below: 

  • Presence of high amount of protein in urine. 
  • High cholesterol levels in their body. 
  • High levels of triglycerides in their body. 
  • Swelling at their ankles and feets especially. 
  • Low levels of protein in their body.


Additionally some more symptoms are also their which might be also visible to the patients of nephrotic syndrome such as: 


  • Sudden weight gain due to fluid build up in the body. 
  • Loss of appetite. 
  • Feeling of being always tired.
  • Fizzy urine


Causes of nephrotic syndrome 


In your body there are some tiny blood vessels present at your kidneys which are called glomeruli. These blood vessels present at your kidneys work as a natural filter and helps your body for filtering the extra waste products and water from your urine.  


nephrotic syndrome is particularly caused when  glomeruli get damaged and unable to perform its work of filtration of extra waste products and water from your urine properly.  Protein becomes able to leak in your urine due to damage caused to these glomeruli blood vessels. 


One of the most important proteins which gets lost in your urine because of nephrotic syndrome is Albumin. Albumin is the type of protein which helps your body for pulling extra fluids from the to your kidneys, which is later released from your in the form of urine. 


In the absence of albumin, your body contains much more extra fluids as generally, which can cause swelling to your face, ankles, legs and feets. 


Primary cause of nephrotic syndrome 


Some types of diseases are  only able to cause bad effects of nephrotic syndrome to your kidneys. Few primary causes of nephrotic syndrome are mentioned below: 


  • Minimal change disease: A person who suffers with minimal change disease there kidney tissues looks normal under the microscope but they get unable to work properly because of some unknown reason. 
  • Renal vein block thrombosis: It is the type of disorder in which the veins which are responsible for draining blood out of the kidney gets blocked by blood clots. 
  • Membrane nephrology: It is the type of disease in which the membranes of glomeruli blood vessels start getting thick. The reason behind the occurrence of this disease is still unknown but it is estimated that this disease is caused generally in the patients of hesitation B, lupus, cancer or malaria. 
  • Floral segmental glomerulosis: In this disease glomeruli get traumatized because of some disease, genetic designs of may be because of any unknown reason.


Secondary causes of nephrotic syndrome 


Many types of diseases can cause bad effects of nephrotic syndrome on your overall body. Few diseases which can cause nephrotic syndrome to your body includes: 

  • Diabetes: In this disease your blood vessels get damaged all over your body, including your kidney because of high and uncontrolled levels of sugar in your blood. 
  • Amyloidosis:  it is one of the rare diseases which is caused because of amyloid protein build up in your body. Excess amounts of amyloid protein can cause severe damage to your kidneys. 
  • Lupus: It is the type of autoimmune disease which is responsible for swelling to your body joints like ankle, knee, wrist and several other organs like kidneys.  


 nephrotic syndrome is also 

caused because of intaking some types of medications like antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 


Diet in nephrotic syndrome


One of the most appropriate and effective ways for managing nephrotic syndrome. Reducing your salt intake can help your body to avoid swelling and  control your blood pressure. It might be possible that your doctor will suggest you limit your fluid intakes so that swelling in your body can  be reduced. 


The levels of triglycerides and cholesterol are increased in nephrotic syndrome so to avoid excess triglycerides and cholesterol build up in your body you should intake foods which have low saturated fat and cholesterol in them. Limiting the foods with high saturated fats and cholesterol can also help you by preventing the risk of heart attack in your body. 


In this nephrotic syndrome your body loses a good amount of protein through your urine, but still extra protein is not  suggested in this syndrome because intake of a high protein diet can make your nephrotic syndrome condition worse. 


Treatment for nephrotic syndrome 


The conditions which are responsible for causing nephrotic syndrome and the symptoms of this syndrome both can be treated with the help of your doctor. Several types of medications are used for the treatment of nephrotic syndrome such as: 

    • Statins: It is the type of medication which is used for controlling the cholesterol levels of your body. Some common examples of statins are lovastatin ( Altoprev mevacor) and astravastin calcium (lipitor). 
    • Blood thinners: These are the types of medication which are used for making your blood thin so that it will lose the ability to clot. It is generally prescribed if the patient of nephrotic syndrome is having clotting in their  kidney . Some examples of these types of medications are heparin and warfarin. 
    • Immunosuppressants: These are the types of medication which are used for keeping the immune system under control and these medications can be also helpful for treatment of underlying conditions like lupus. The most common example of an immunosuppressant medication is corticosteroids. 
  • Diuretics: Diuretics are the types of medication which are used for helping your kidney for realizing extra fluids from them which reduces swelling in your body. Some ingredients of these medications are furosemide (Lasix) and spironolactone (Aldactone). 
  • Blood pressure medication: Blood pressure medication are types of medications which can be useful for reducing blood pressure and lowering the amount of protein loss in the form of urine. Some substances of this medication are angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin converting enzymes (ACE) inhibitors. 


In order to prevent the risks of infections from your body, a doctor may suggest you take the injections of yearly flu shot and pneumococcal. 


Nephrotic syndrome In children 


Generally, it is noticed that primary nephrotic syndrome is the most common type of symptoms which is found in children, however both primary and secondary nephrotic syndrome can occur in children. 


In the first 3 months of life some children can have congenital nephrotic syndrome. Congenital nephrotic syndrome is caused because of the infection just after the birth or inherited genetic defect. It is possible that the children suffering from this condition may require a kidney transplant for their survival. 


Nephrotic syndrome symptoms in children includes: 


  • Diarrhea 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Fever 
  • Blood in the urine 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • High cholesterol levels


Children suffering with the congenital nephrotic syndrome catch much more infections as compared with the normal children. It happens because the proteins which are responsible for protecting the body from infections get drained in the form of urine from their body . 


Nephrotic syndrome In adults 


Along with children, in adults nephrotic syndrome is caused by both primary and secondary reasons. Focal segmental glomerulosis (FSGS) is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome In adults.


Focal segmental glomerulosis (FSGS) is the condition linked with poorer outlook. The amount of protein in urine is one of the appropriate factors for finding prophecy in adults. Around half parents of focal segmental glomerulosis (FSGS) progress to end stage kidney disease in 5 to 10 years. 


Still, an important role is played by the second cause of nephrotic syndrome. It is assumed that around 50 percent of nephrotic syndrome adult patients are associated with secondary causes such as lupus and diabetes. 


Diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome 


At first your medical history will be taken by the doctor for diagnosing nephrotic syndrome. Afterwards you will be questioned about your symptoms, whether you are suffering with any type of underlying disease or not etc. 


Many types of physical examinations will also be conducted by your doctor. Some of them are measuring your blood pressure and sugar levels. 


A variety of tests are performed for diagnosing nephrotic syndrome such as: 


  • Biopsy: In biopsy tests a small kidney tissue is collected then after it is sent to the lab for testing and for finding what is the cause of this condition. 
  • Ultrasound: It is the type of test which uses sound waves for creating an image of your kidneys that will be useful for your doctors to determine the structure of your kidney. 
  • Urine tests: In this test a small amount of your urine is collected and then it will be sent to the laboratory to find out how much protein is present in your urine. 
  • Blood tests: In this test a small amount of blood is taken from your veins which are present at your arms further this blood is used for determining cholesterol, triglycerides, albumin levels in your blood and it will also help doctors for finding out overall kidney functions. 


Complications in nephrotic syndrome 


A variety of complications can be caused by the loss of protein from your blood and damages in your kidneys. Some of the common complications which may be experienced by the patient of nephrotic syndrome includes: 

  • High blood pressure: Damage to your kidneys is able to increase the amounts of waste products in your blood which can cause high blood pressure. 
  • Anemia: It is the condition in which shortage of red blood cells occur because of which oxygen is not properly carried to all the organs and tissues of your body. 
  • Infections: The patients of nephrotic syndrome are at a higher risk of getting infections. 
  • Coronary artery disease: In this disease the patient’s blood vessels get narrowed which reduces the sufficient blood flow to the heart. 
  • Un-inactive thyroid glands: In this condition your thyroid glands stop making sufficient hormones. 
  • Chronic kidney disease: In chronic kidney disease the kidney gets unable to perform its tasks over time. 
  • Renal failure: In this situation your kidney completely stops performing its task of filtration completely.
  • Malnutrition: This is caused because the loss of protein in the blood can lead to huge weight loss. 
  • High cholesterol levels: high levels of cholesterol in your body is able to increase the risk of heart attack for you. 
  • Blood clots: This is caused due to the heavy loss of protein from your blood. 


Risks factors involved with nephrotic syndrome 


Some factors are responsible for putting you at the higher risk of nephrotic syndrome development. Few of them are mentioned below: 

    • Medications.some specific type of medication such as infection fighting drugs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome In your body.
    • Any type of underlying condition which is able to damage the kidney such as lupus, diabetes or any severe kidney disease. 
  • Infections some specific types of infections are able to increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome In you such as hepatitis B and C, malaria and HIV. 


It is not important that if you have any of these characteristics then the nephrotic syndrome will occur in you, but it is important to get conscious about your health and concern a doctor if any of these symptoms are visible in you. 


Prospect of nephrotic syndrome 


Prospect of nephrotic syndrome can differ on the reason behind its cause and your overall health. 


Most of the diseases which are responsible for causing nephrotic syndrome get better with help of appropriate treatment. After the treatment of underlying disease the condition of nephrotic syndrome improves. 


Still, some conditions may result in kidney failure even with the treatment. It is highly possible that in the worst situation kidney transplant or dialysis will be required by the patient. 


If you have any visible symptom of nephrotic syndrome then you should concern a doctor as early as possible. 


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