What is Nephrotic Syndrome?
Nephrotic Syndrome is a type of kidney disorder that causes the human body to excrete too much protein through urine. This condition is caused usually when the small blood vessel clusters in your kidneys become damaged and are unable to filter waste or excess water present in the blood. In most cases, the small blood vessel clusters are damaged due to another underlying health condition. Nephrotic Syndrome exhibits symptoms like edema in the feet, ankles, and around the eyes, foamy urine, sudden weight gain, and so on. The condition can be treated by treating the underlying health condition that caused it in the first place.
Nephrotic Syndrome Symptoms
In most cases, it is not possible to identify nephrotic syndrome until a blood test and a urine test is done. However, some of the tell-tale Nephrotic Syndrome symptoms that you need to watch out for include:
- Weight gain
- Leg, feet and ankle swelling
- Swelling of your hands or face
- Bubbly or foamy urine
- Loss of appetite
- High level of protein in the urine
- High level of fat in the blood
- High cholesterol level
- Low level of albumin
Most of these symptoms become more apparent with the help of blood and urine tests prescribed by the Nephrologist.
Who is at Risk?
The commonly seen Nephrotic Syndrome risk factors include:
- More commonly seen in men
- Children aged between 2 to 6 are at a higher risk
- Have a kidney disease like lupus, diabetes or FSGS
- Take certain medications like antibiotics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Have an infection like Hepatitis B and C, HIV or Malaria.
In case you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to meet with a doctor as soon as possible. This will help identify the underlying health condition that is causing Nephrotic Syndrome and get you started on the treatment right away.
Nephrotic Syndrome Causes
Your kidneys consist of tiny blood vessels known as glomeruli. When the blood moves through these vessels, waste products as extra water get filtered into your urine. Other substances and protein remain in your bloodstream while this process occurs. One of the main reasons for Nephrotic Syndrome is damaged glomeruli. They become unable to filter your blood properly. This leads to leakage of protein into your urine. One of the main proteins lost this way is Albumin. This protein is responsible for extracting extra fluid in your body and sending them to your kidney. When this protein is lost via your urine, your body loses its ability to get rid of the excess water. This is why edema is one of the main symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome. Some of the primary causes of Nephrotic Syndrome include Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, Membranous nephropathy, Minimal change disease, Renal vein thrombosis, Diabetes, Lupus, Amyloidosis, and so on.
How is Nephrotic Syndrome diagnosed?
In order to arrive at a Nephrotic Syndrome diagnosis, the doctor will first need to take your medical history. This includes asking you questions about your symptoms, medications you are taking, other medical conditions, and so on. After this, the doctor will proceed with the physical examination which includes checking your blood pressure and listening to your heart. Doctors also prescribe several tests as seen below to help them come to a diagnosis:
- Urine tests: These tests will analyze your urine for unusual amounts of protein.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are carried out to analyze your blood for makers of overall kidney function, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and albumin levels.
- Ultrasound: The ultrasound is used to check the structure of your kidneys and look for any damage.
- Biopsy: A biopsy of kidney tissue is done to help determine what might be causing your symptoms.
How is Nephrotic Syndrome treated?
The Nephrotic Syndrome treatment chosen by your doctor will depend on the type of Nephrotic Syndrome you have. Medicine for Nephrotic Syndrome will help you deal with the symptoms caused by the condition and also treat the condition itself. The Nephrotic Syndrome cure includes medication like diuretics, statins, blood thinners, and immune system suppressants. The doctor will also recommend getting a pneumococcal vaccine and a flu shot to reduce your risk of infection. Fortunately, you can see a doctor as soon as possible with the help of Cure.fit’s latest offering. You finally have easy access to an online video consultation with the top Nephrotic Syndrome doctor in the country.
How can Nephrotic Syndrome be prevented?
While the prevention of Nephrotic Syndrome is not possible, you can still take action to limit the damage to your glomeruli. This includes managing your high blood pressure and diabetes, getting vaccinated for common infections, always completing your antibiotic prescriptions, and so on. After all, keeping your glomeruli safe is the best way to stay clear of Nephrotic Syndrome.