The Main Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome that we should not ignore. Also, Nephrotic Syndrome is a kidney disease that causes your body to excrete too much protein in your urine . Nephrotic Syndrome is usually caused by damage to the clusters of small blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste and excess water from your blood.
Nephrotic Syndrome causes swelling (edema), particularly in your feet and ankles, and increases your risk of other health problems. Treatment for Nephrotic Syndrome includes treating the underlying condition that is causing it and taking medication.
Nephrotic Syndrome can increase the risk of infections and blood clots. Your doctor may recommend medications and dietary changes to prevent these and other complications of nephrotic syndrome.
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Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome: Nephrotic Syndrome is usually caused by damage to the clusters of small blood vessels (glomeruli) in your kidneys . The glomeruli filter your blood as it passes through your kidneys , separating things your body needs from those it doesn’t.
Healthy glomeruli keep blood protein (mostly albumin) – which is needed to keep the right amount of fluid in your body – from seeping into your urine .
When damaged, the glomeruli allow too many blood proteins to leave your body, leading to Nephrotic Syndrome . Many diseases and conditions can cause glomerular damage and lead to Nephrotic Syndrome , including:
- Minimal change disease. The most common cause of Nephrotic Syndrome in children, this disorder results in abnormal kidney function, but when kidney tissue is examined under a microscope, it appears normal or nearly normal. The cause of abnormal function typically cannot be determined.
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Characterized by scattered scarring of some of the glomeruli, this condition can result from another disease or genetic defect or occur for no known reason.
- Membranous Nephropathy. This kidney disease is the result of thickening membranes within the glomeruli. The exact cause of the thickening is not known, but it is sometimes associated with other medical conditions such as hepatitis B, malaria, lupus, and cancer.
- Diabetic kidney disease. Diabetes can lead to kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) that affects the glomeruli.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus. This chronic inflammatory disease can lead to serious kidney damage .
- amyloidosis. This disorder occurs when substances called amyloid proteins build up in your organs. Amyloid buildup often affects the kidneys , impairing their filtration system.
- Blood clot in a renal vein. Renal vein thrombosis, which occurs when a blood clot blocks a vein connected to the kidney, can cause nephrotic syndrome.
- Cardiac insufficiency. Some forms of heart failure, such as constrictive pericarditis and severe right heart failure, can cause Nephrotic Syndrome.
Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome: Signs and symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome include:
- Severe swelling (edema), particularly around your eyes and in your ankles and feet
- Foamy urine , which can be caused by excess protein in the urine
- Weight gain due to excess fluid retention
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.
Nephrotic Syndrome Risk Factors: Factors that can increase your risk of Nephrotic Syndrome include:
- Medical conditions that can harm your kidneys. Certain diseases and conditions increase the risk of developing Nephrotic Syndrome , such as diabetes, lupus, amyloidosis, minimal change disease, and other kidney diseases.
- Certain medications. Examples of medications that can cause Nephrotic Syndrome include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and drugs used to fight infections.
- Certain infections. Examples of infections that increase the risk of Nephrotic Syndrome include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and malaria.
Complications of Nephrotic Syndrome: Possible complications of Nephrotic Syndrome include:
- Blood clots. The inability of the glomeruli to filter blood properly can lead to the loss of blood proteins that help prevent clotting. This increases the risk of developing a blood clot (thrombus) in the veins.
- High blood cholesterol and high blood triglycerides. When the level of albumin protein in the blood drops, the liver makes more albumin. At the same time, your liver releases more cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Poor nutrition. Loss of too much protein from the blood can result in malnutrition. This can lead to weight loss, but it can be masked by bloating. You may also have too few red blood cells (anemia) and low levels of vitamin D and calcium.
- High pressure. Damage to your glomeruli and the buildup of waste products in your bloodstream (uremia) can raise your blood pressure.
- Acute kidney failure. If your kidneys lose their ability to filter blood due to damage to the glomeruli, waste products can quickly build up in your blood. If this happens, you may need emergency dialysis – an artificial means of removing extra fluid and waste from your blood – typically with an artificial kidney (dialyzer) machine.
- Chronic kidney disease. Nephrotic Syndrome can cause your kidneys to gradually lose their function over time. If your kidney function drops low enough, you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- infections. People with nephrotic syndrome are at increased risk of infection.
Nephrotic Syndrome Tests and Diagnosis: Tests and procedures used to diagnose Nephrotic Syndrome include:
- Urine tests. A urinalysis can reveal abnormalities in your urine , such as large amounts of protein if you have nephrotic syndrome . You may be asked to collect urine samples over the course of 24 hours for an accurate measurement of the protein in your urine.
- Bloodtests. If you have nephrotic syndrome , a blood test may show low levels of albumin protein (hypoalbuminemia) specifically and often decreased blood protein levels in general. Albumin loss is often associated with an increase in blood cholesterol and blood triglycerides. Serum creatinine and blood urea can also be measured to assess overall kidney function.
- Removing a kidney tissue sample for testing. Your doctor may recommend a procedure called a kidney biopsy to remove a small sample of kidney tissue for testing. During a kidney biopsy, a special needle is inserted through your skin and into your kidney. Kidney tissue is collected and sent to a laboratory for testing.
Nephrotic Syndrome Treatments: Treatment for Nephrotic Syndrome involves treating any underlying medical condition that may be causing your Nephrotic Syndrome . Your doctor may also recommend medications that can help control your signs and symptoms or treat complications of nephrotic syndrome . Medications can include:
- Blood pressure medications. Medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors lower blood pressure and also reduce the amount of protein released in the urine . Medications in this category include benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), and enalapril (Vasotec). Another group of drugs that work in a similar way is called angiotensin II receptor blockers and includes losartan (Cozaar) and valsartan (Diovan).
- Water pills. Water pills (diuretics) help control swelling by increasing the production of fluid from the kidneys . Diuretic medications include furosemide (Lasix) and spironolactone (Aldactone).
- Medicines that lower cholesterol. Medications called statins can help lower cholesterol levels . However, it is currently unclear whether cholesterol -lowering drugs can specifically improve outcomes for people with Nephrotic Syndrome , such as preventing heart attacks or lowering the risk of early death. Statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor).
- Blood thinners. Medicines called anticoagulants help decrease your blood’s ability to clot and reduce your risk of developing blood clots. Anticoagulants include heparin or warfarin (Coumadin).
- Immune-suppressing medications. Medications to control the immune system, such as corticosteroids, can decrease the inflammation that accompanies certain kidney disorders, such as minimal change disease.
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Preventing Nephrotic Syndrome: Changes to your diet can help you cope with Nephrotic Syndrome . Your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist to discuss how what you eat can help you deal with the complications of Nephrotic Syndrome . A nutritionist may recommend that you:
- Choose lean sources of protein
- Reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet to help control your blood cholesterol levels
- Eat a low-salt diet to help control the swelling (edema) you experience