Nephrotic Syndrome – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments!

Nephrotic Syndrome – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. Also, Nephrotic Syndrome is a kidney disease characterized by high levels of protein in the urine and swelling of body tissue. People of any age can be affected by Nephrotic Syndrome , although children aged between 18 months and four years are at the highest risk.

Long-term Nephrotic Syndrome can lead to irreparable damage to the kidneys that leads to kidney failure , necessitating dialysis treatment or, eventually, a kidney transplant. In addition, nephrotic syndrome produces a collection of symptoms and signs that occur because the small blood vessels (the glomeruli) in the kidneys  do not work properly.

Nephrotic Syndrome  is characterized by abnormally high levels of protein in the urine (particularly one called albumin) and abnormally low levels of protein in the blood. This often leads to fluid retention in the body’s tissues causing swelling ( edema ) and can be associated with high blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

The glomeruli act as filters to remove waste products from the blood, which are then excreted from the body in the urine. In Nephrotic Syndrome , these filters become faulty and leak, allowing large amounts of protein to be lost in the urine. Protein in the blood acts to prevent water from entering the body’s cells. Reduced blood protein levels cause water to leak into body tissue, causing swelling ( edema ).

Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome:  The most common cause of Nephrotic Syndrome is glomerulonephritis – a group of kidney diseases where the glomeruli become inflamed. Immune system malfunction is thought to be the underlying cause of glomerulonephritis. For some reason, the immune system attacks and damages the glomeruli. The three most common forms of glomerulonephritis causing Nephrotic Syndrome are:

  • Minimal change nephropathy (also called minimal change disease).
  • Membranous Glomerulonephritis.
  • Focal segmental glomerulonephritis.

There is also a form of the disease called Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome . This very rare form of Nephrotic Syndrome  is genetic in origin and is present at birth. A wide range of other disorders (including diabetes mellitus and systemic lupus erythematosus) and factors such as toxins are less common causes of nephrotic syndrome.

In children, Nephrotic Syndrome is usually detected between the ages of 3 and 4 years old. Most children have a form of glomerulonephritis called minimal change nephropathy. This is where minimal or no glomerular abnormalities are observed under a microscope. This form of  Nephrotic Syndrome affects approximately 1 in 50,000 children. It can usually be successfully treated. in adults,

Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome:  Signs and symptoms of  Nephrotic Syndrome  include:

  • foamy urine
  • fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling ( edema ) around the eyes, hands, feet, and abdomen
  • loss of appetite
  • Greater weight of fluid retention
  • High levels of protein in the urine and low levels of protein in the blood

As nephrotic syndrome  progresses, there may be:

  • Susceptibility to infectious diseases due to an impaired immune system
  • An increased risk of blood clots (thrombosis)
  • Muscle wasting (due to protein loss)
  • malnutrition
  • liver of bones
  • Abnormally low or abnormally high blood pressure
  • High  blood cholesterol levels
  • Kidney failure.

Diagnosis of Nephrotic Syndrome:  A referral to a nephrologist (kidney specialist) may be required for a diagnosis to be made. The doctor will take blood and urine samples. If the results show large amounts of protein in the urine and decreased amounts of protein in the blood, the doctor may recommend a kidney biopsy.

A kidney biopsy is where a small piece of kidney is removed with a needle and studied under a microscope. This procedure usually involves a one-day hospital stay and is performed under a mild general anesthetic or a local anesthetic. An ultrasound scan of the kidneys  may also be performed.

Nephrotic Syndrome Treatments:  Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the Nephrotic Syndrome  and will aim at relieving symptoms and preventing complications. Medications that reduce the effect of the immune system on the glomeruli are the mainstay of treatment. Medications to achieve this include steroids (eg, prednisone) and potent immunosuppressive medications such as cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate, and rituximab.

Medications to lower high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels   may also be prescribed. The doctor may also recommend restricting fluid intake or may prescribe drugs that increase the amount of urine produced (diuretics).

These, along with bed rest, will help reduce swelling. The doctor or nutritionist may recommend a special diet designed to control the amount of protein and salt in the body. The most commonly used drugs for the treatment of nephrotic syndrome are:

  • Aldactone
  • Betamethasone
  • Celestone
  • decadron
  • diprospan
  • diurix
  • duoflam
  • spironolactone
  • hydrochlorothiazide

NOTE:  Only a doctor can tell you which drug is most suitable for you, as well as the correct dosage and duration of treatment. Always follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter and never self-medicate. Do not stop using the drug without consulting a doctor first, and if you take it more than once or in much larger amounts than prescribed, follow the instructions on the package insert.

Useful links: 

Prevention of Nephrotic Syndrome:  The only way to prevent the occurrence of Nephrotic Syndrome is to prevent the underlying causes of it.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *