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Nephrotic Syndrome

Home >> Nephrology >> Nephrotic Syndrome

Clinical Directorate

Overview

Nephrotic syndrome is a serious kidney disorder causing the body to excrete excessive protein in the urine.  The small blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste and excess water from the blood are damaged, thereby causing swelling in the feet and ankles. 

Nephrotic syndrome includes the following:

  • Proteinuria—large amounts of protein in the urine
  • Hyperlipidemia—higher than normal fat and cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Edema, or swelling, usually in the legs, feet, or ankles and less often in the hands or face
  • Hypoalbuminia—low levels of albumin in the blood

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of nephrotic syndrome are:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Foamy urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Protein in urea

The risk factors that can cause this syndrome are:

  • The medical conditions like diabetes, lupus, amyloidosis and other kidney diseases.
  • Medications that are nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Infections like Hepatitis B, HIV, Hepatitis C and Malaria 

Causes

This is a disease that only affects kidneys. Its causes include:

  • Diabetic kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Blood clot in a kidney vein
  • Minimal change disease
  • Chronic inflammatory disease

Treatment

  • The treatment for nephrotic syndrome involves treating any underlying medical condition that may be causing this syndrome.
  • Medications may include blood pressure medications, water pills, cholesterol-reducing medications, and blood thinners.
  • Patients with nephrotic syndrome may be given pneumococcal vaccine which helps protection against a bacteria causing infection.

Treatment may involve certain medications such as: 

  • Blood pressure medications to control the amount of protein in the urine
  • Water pills to control swelling by increasing the output of fluids in kidneys.
  • Cholesterol reducing medicines to avoid heart attacks
  • Blood thinners are also used for decreasing the bloods’ ability to clot
  • Immune system suppressing medications to reduce the inflammation in the kidneys