Everything about Nephrotic syndrome

by in Better healthy April 28, 2020

Everything about Nephrotic syndrome

so you’re suffering from nephrotic syndrome and you’re looking for a complete guidance article? Well in this article about nephrotic syndrome we’re going to tell you all about it. Here is a list of you can read in this article:

1- what is nephrotic syndrome?

2- what are the symptoms?

3- what causes it? 

4- what are the risk factors?

5- when to see a doctor?

6- how can you treat it?

7- what complications does it have?

What is nephrotic syndrome?

When we’re talking about kidney disorder, we mostly talk about nephrotic syndrome. Nephrotic syndrome causes your kidneys to release a lot of protein and pass them through your urine. Nephrotic syndrome happens when there is damage to the blood vessels in your kidney. 

If you’re suffering from nephrotic syndrome you may also experience swelling in your ankles and feet and also other health conditions. 

What are the symptoms?

Nephrotic syndrome has its own very specific symptoms but you can’t diagnose it without a blood or urine test. Here is a list of symptoms:

1- you lose your appetite

2- severe swelling in your ankles, feet and sometime your face and hands

3- gaining weight because of fluid gathering in your body

4- having foamy urine because of a lot of protein in your urine

5- tiredness and fatigue

6- low blood protein

7- high amount of protein in your urine

8- high cholesterol

If you have any of the symptoms and it worries you, please contact your doctor right away. With an early recognition of the disease you can treat it better. 

what causes it? 

Nephrotic syndrome is caused by damage to clusters of blood vessels in your kidney. These blood vessels always filter the blood that passes through your kidney and keeps the protein your body needs in your body. But when they’re damaged, they can’t recognize the beneficial protein and filter it as something bad for your body and take it out through your urine. 

There are different diseases and health conditions that can damage your kidney blood vessels, such as:

1- diabetes

Diabetes causes sugar to build up in your body. This extra sugar damages your entire body’s blood vessels such as your kidney’s blood vessels. 

2- lupus

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes your body organs to swell. 

3- Membranous nephropathy

This condition is caused by thickening membranes in the kidney’s glomeruli. It mostly happens without any specific reasons or can be alongside other health conditions such as:

  • Malaria 
  • Cancer
  • Lupus 
  • Hepatitis B

4-  Minimal change disease

This health condition mostly happens in children and has no known reason. In this disease when kidney tissue is examined, everything appears to be normal while the kidney isn’t functioning properly. 

5- Amyloidosis

This condition is caused through protein saving up in your organs and as a result it can damage your kidney.

6- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis

This condition causes scarring to the glomeruli of your kidneys. It happens because of a defect in the genes or a disease. 

Why do children get nephrotic syndrome?

Most children can suffer from this disease shortly three months after they are born. Some of the children might finally need a kidney transplant to treat this health condition. What causes it in children is usually a defect in genes or infection. Children can show varied symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, high blood pressure, diarrhea, signs of infection and blood in their urine. 

Why do adults get nephrotic syndrome?

In adults the most common and usual reason is Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. After that other health conditions such as lupus and diabetes are the most common reasons why adults may suffer from nephrotic syndrome. 

What are the risk factors?

Here we have gathered a list of conditions that can put you at higher risks:

1- infections

If you suffer from some specific infections, please talk to your doctor about nephrotic syndrome and your chances of getting it. Some examples of these infections:

  • Malaria
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV

2- medications

There are some specific medications that put you at higher risks of nephrotic syndrome, such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-infection drugs
  • NSAIDs

3- health conditions

In your body might underlie some health conditions that can damage your kidney. For example:

  • Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Reflux nephropathy
  • Amyloidosis
  • Other kidney diseases

when to see a doctor?

It’s very important to remember that if you have one of the symptoms it doesn’t particularly mean you can develop nephrotic syndrome. But you should observe your symptoms and risk factors and also check your blood and urine every couple of months to stop any risks of kidney damage. If you have a bunch of the symptoms, you should talk to your doctor so they can pinpoint your problem and treat it in the most suitable way. 

How can you treat it?

In order to treat this condition first your doctor should diagnose it. When they want to diagnose your condition there are several steps you should take, such as:

1- telling your doctor about your medical history

2- types of medication you take

3- what health conditions you have

4- getting a physical examination

5- measuring your blood pressure 

6- listening to your heart rate

After following these steps finally it’s turn for tests. There are many tests that you can take to diagnose nephrotic syndrome. Your doctor recommends the best type of test for you based on your health condition and medical history. These tests include biopsy, urine test, ultrasound and blood test.

As for treatment, there are no specific treatments for nephrotic syndrome. You can only prevent it or stop it from further damage to your kidney. The final way is a dialysis or kidney transplant that only happens if your kidney stops working. 

For stopping further damages, there are medicines you can take such as:

  • Medicine to control blood pressure
  • Specific medicines to reduce extra water buildup in your body
  • Some medicine to control cholesterol
  • Using medicine for blood clot prevention
  • A change in your diet
  • Diuretics

They release fluid from your body. In results your body swelling may be treated.

  • Immune system suppressants
  • Statins

These medications can help decrease your blood cholesterol.

  • Blood thinners

A suitable diet for nephrotic syndrome

One of the easy ways to prevent nephrotic syndrome or even treat its symptoms is to change your diet to a healthier better one. In this specific diet for nephrotic syndrome, there are three important factors you should consider:

1- protein 

The amount of protein that enters your body is very important. You should talk to your dietitian about the amount of protein your body needs. 

2- saturated fat

You can control your blood cholesterol through having a low fat diet.

3- salt

If you reduce the amount of salt you use in your diet, it helps you prevent high blood pressure and swelling. 

What complications does it have?

There are many possible complications for nephrotic syndrome, such as:

1- infection

You are at higher risks of infection if you’re suffering from nephrotic syndrome.

2- high blood pressure

Nephrotic syndrome can cause extra fluid buildup and therefore cause high blood pressure.

3- blood clots

If your kidney can not filter your blood, you’ll lose proteins that prevent blood clotting and therefore you would be at higher risks of clotting in your blood vessels. 

4- malnutrition

Losing the protein in your blood can cause you many malnutritions. These malnutritions can cause you many troubles such as:

  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Low blood protein
  • Low vitamin D

5- high blood cholesterol and triglycerides

Your liver produces more albumin when your kidneys fail to filter your blood protein properly. So your liver in order to produce more albumin has to also release more cholesterol and triglycerides. 

6- kidney failure

If your kidneys are unable to filter your blood properly, they can cause a buildup of wastes in your blood. This condition needs emergency treatment. 

7- chronic kidney disease

Nephrotic syndrome can cause your kidneys to stop working over time. In this condition, patients commonly need a kidney transplant. 

8- anemia

Anemia happens when you have a low level of red blood cells in your veins. When your body’s level of red blood cells reduces, your blood won’t be able to deliver oxygen properly. 

9- hypothyroidism

In this case your thyroid gland can’t release enough thyroid hormone. 

10. Coronary artery disease

In this condition your blood vessels narrow down. This can affect the amount of blood that goes in and out of your heart. 

As we said nephrotic disease is caused by other health conditions. Sometimes if you treat that specific health condition, your nephrotic syndrome treats itself on its own. But you also have to remember that health conditions related to kidneys are very important and can have lifelong effects. So if you are worried about some symptoms, talk to your doctor and ask for advice on what to do to prevent or treat nephrotic syndrome. 


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nephrotic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20375608
  2. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/244631-overview
  3. https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/other-kidney-conditions/rare-diseases/nephrotic-syndrome/#treatment-for-nephrotic-syndrome
  4. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-nephrotic-syndrome#2
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/nephrotic-syndrome#outlook
  6. Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash
  7. Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash
  8. Photo by Olga Guryanova on Unsplash

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