Nephrotic syndrome is a type of kidney condition, which is characterized by a group of symptoms. These symptoms include more than 3.5 grams per day of protein in the urine, low blood protein levels, high triglyceride levels, edema and high cholesterol levels.
A variety of disorders cause this condition to occur. When it does, it damages the kidneys. Specifically the damage targets the basement membrane of the glomerulus. When this occurs, an abnormal amount of protein is excreted into the urine.
In adults, the most common cause of the condition is membranous glomerulo nephritis. However, in children, the main cause is minimal change disease. Infections can also cause the condition to occur. Some infections associated with it include hepatitis, strep throat and mononucleosis.
Some people develop the condition after using specific types of drugs. In others, diseases such as cancer, immune disorders and genetic disorders lead to the syndrome.
Although this syndrome can happen to people of all ages, it’s most common in children ages two to six. Males experience it more frequently than females.
- Swelling, called edema, which most commonly occurs in the face and around the eyes, arms, legs, and abdomen area
- Fluid retention often leads to unexplained weight gain
- A poor appetite
- High blood pressure
- Urine that appears foamy
These symptoms don’t all have to occur. Doctors will need to perform function tests on the kidneys to determine what the cause of the symptoms are before diagnosis can be made.
In addition, the goal is to delay progression of the kidney damage in the hope of preventing or lengthening the time before kidney disease occurs. It’s also important for any underlying cause of the syndrome be treated.
The most important tool to slowing the progression of the condition is controlling blood pressure levels. Blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg is often the goal.
Medications can help patient to achieve this level in most cases. Controlling high cholesteroal and using medications to suppress the immune system may also be necessary.
For those dealing with nephrotic syndrome, the prognosis of the condition depends on various factors, including if the condition is short term or chronic and how well it responds to treatments.
Get help for kidney disease and syndromes like this as soon as possible.
Written by Patrick Ireland