Nephrotic syndrome causes scarring or damage to the filtering part of the kidneys (glomeruli). This causes too much protein to be lost from the blood into the urine.
People with nephrotic syndrome often have:
Nephrotic syndrome results from damage to the kidneys' glomeruli. These are the tiny blood vessels that filter waste and excess water from the blood and send them to the bladder as urine.
Your glomeruli keep protein in the body. When they are damaged, protein leaks into the urine. Healthy kidneys allow less than 1 gram of protein to spill into the urine in a day. In nephrotic syndrome, the glomeruli let 3 grams or more of protein to leak into the urine during a 24-hour period.
Nephrotic syndrome may happen with other health problems, such as kidney disease caused by diabetes and immune disorders. It can also develop after damage from viral infections.
The cause of nephrotic syndrome is not always known.
Nephrotic syndrome is a set of symptoms. These are the most common:
The symptoms of nephrotic syndrome may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will review medical history and do a physical exam. Other tests may include:
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Your healthcare provider will try to find the underlying cause. He or she will also attempt to control blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce protein in the urine.
Medicines can include:
Diet. A special diet can help delay the need for dialysis and to get rid of extra fluid and toxins that build up. Avoid salt to prevent more swelling. Avoid fats and cholesterol. Be sure to eat lean protein.
Dialysis is used in extreme cases to remove fluid and toxins when your kidneys have severely impaired filtering.
Not all causes of nephrotic syndrome can be prevented. To prevent damage to the glomeruli:
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