What is Nephrotic Syndrome?
A kidney disorder in which the body excretes a lot of protein in the urine is known as nephrotic syndrome.
This condition is due to damage caused to the clusters of small blood vessels in kidneys which is responsible for filtering excess waste and water by means of blood.
This syndrome results in the swelling of ankles and feet, and it also increases the chance of other health problems.
Types of Nephrotic Syndrome
Minimal change is considered as the most common type of nephrotic syndrome in children that can be seen in almost 80% of cases.
In this, the cells look normal and only have minimal changes that include:
- The need for kidney transplant or dialysis is rarely required
- It generally responds to steroids
- It can relapse less commonly when the child grows older
- The function of the kidney is not affected
- It relates to most positive outcomes in children with nephrotic syndrome
- Usually, it is outgrown when a child is a young adult
Focal Sclerosis is yet another type of nephrotic syndrome, which is considered as the most aggressive form of nephrotic syndrome that can result in the following conditions:
- It requires a kidney transplant or dialysis
- It usually affects about 10% of children with nephrotic syndrome
- It requires many biopsies for diagnosing
- It does not respond to steroid therapy
Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome
The disorders that can damage the kidneys causes nephrotic syndrome.
This damage results in excess protein in the urine.
Membranous glomerulonephritis is known as the most common cause in adults while minimal change disease is considered as the most common cause in children.
Nephrotic syndrome may also occur from the following disorders:
- Use of some drugs
- Genetic disorders
- Infections such as mononucleosis, throat or hepatitis
- Diseases that include multiple myeloma, diabetes, amyloidosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus
- Immune disorders
This syndrome can also occur with kidney disorders that include:
- Mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis
- Segmental and focal glomerulosclerosis
Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome
The most common symptom of nephrotic syndrome is swelling (edema) that can happen in the following areas:
- The belly area (swollen abdomen)
- Around the eyes and in the face (facial swelling)
- Legs and arms particularly in the ankles and feet
Some of the other symptoms include the followings:
- Weight gain due to fluid retention
- The foamy appearance of the urine
- Poor appetite
Diagnosis of Nephrotic Syndrome
Different tests are performed for diagnosing nephrotic syndrome that includes:
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
- Albumin blood test
- Creatinine clearance – urine test
- Blood chemistry tests like a comprehensive metabolic panel or basic metabolic panel
- Creatinine – blood test
- A kidney biopsy is also required for finding the cause of the disorder
Treatment of Nephrotic Syndrome
Treatment aims to delay kidney damage by providing relief from its symptoms and also to prevent its complications.
A treatment depends upon the cause of the disease.
A good diet is necessary for children to reducing excess protein in the urine.
The tissue swelling may also be reduced by decreasing the intake of fluid.
A specific diet is recommended for adults also that should be low in protein and salt.
Some of the medications are required for treating nephrotic syndrome that include:
- Immune system suppressing medications (these medications help in controlling the immune system).
- Blood pressure medications
- Water pills
- Blood thinners
- Cholesterol-reducing medications
Cost of Nephrotic Syndrome Treatment
The nephrotic syndrome cost in Iran is substantially lower than as compared to the surgical costs in America and Europe.
The availability of the latest technology and medical facilities attracts many national as well as international patients to Iran.