Our kidneys act as a blood filter. Blood that flows through this filter is sieved for waste products which are passed out in the urine. Sometimes, useful substances go through the sieve but the kidneys eventually reabsorb it for use. However, this is not always the case. Damage to this sieve means that it may not be able to retain all the useful substances…
In Nephrotic syndrome, the body tends to pass too much protein in the urine. This is usually due to damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste and excess water from the blood.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms?
Nephrotic Syndrome is one condition that doesn’t hide, as its symptoms are overt as soon as the condition becomes apparent. Some of these conditions include:
- Severe swelling, or edema that particularly builds around the eyes, ankles, and feet.
- Foamy urine, a result of excess protein in your urine.
- Weight gain due to fluid retention.
- Loss of appetite.
What are the risk factors?
Some of the factors that can increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome include:
Medical conditions can damage your kidneys, such as diabetes, lupus, amyloidosis, reflux nephropathy, and other kidney diseases.
Certain medications that might cause nephrotic syndromes like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics.
Infections that could increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and malaria.
What Causes Nephrotic Syndrome?
Asides from these risk factors, known causes of nephrotic syndrome have also been documented.
As said earlier that Nephrotic syndrome is usually caused by damage to the clusters of tiny blood vessels called glomeruli of 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 mainly in the form of albumin, which is needed to maintain the right amount of fluid in your body, from seeping into your urine. However, when damaged, glomeruli allow too much blood protein to leave your body, leading to nephrotic syndrome.
Many diseases and conditions can cause glomerular damage and lead to nephrotic syndrome, including:
Diabetic kidney disease or Diabetic Nephropathy, membranous nephropathy, systemic lupus erythematosus, and amyloidosis.
How Is Diagnosis Made?
To be diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome requires that tests and procedures need to be done and some of these include:
- Urine tests: A urinalysis can reveal abnormalities in your urine, such as large amounts of protein, the hallmark of Nephrotic Syndrome.
- Blood tests: This is done to show low levels of the protein albumin and often decreased levels of blood protein overall. The creatinine and urea nitrogen levels in your blood also might be measured to assess your overall kidney function.
- Kidney biopsy: There might be a recommendation from your nephrologist wherein a small sample of kidney tissue is removed for testing. During a kidney biopsy, a needle is inserted through your skin and into your kidney, tissue is then collected and sent to the path lab for testing.
How Is It Treated?
Treatment for nephrotic syndrome involves treating any medical condition that might be causing your nephrotic syndrome with a recommendation of medications and lifestyle changes.
Some of these medications include:
- Blood pressure medications: These are drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that reduce blood pressure and the amount of protein released in urine.
Another group that works similarly is the angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
- Diuretics: These are drugs that help the control of swelling by increasing your kidneys’ fluid output.
- Anticoagulants: These blood thinners are prescribed to decrease your blood’s ability to clot, especially if you’ve had a blood clot.
Nephrotic Syndrome, from the name, could sound like it’s a death sentence. However, if the symptoms are identified on time, and presentation to the hospital is prompt, Nephrotic Syndrome is completely treatable and you can get back to your best life as if nothing had happened.