Nephrotic syndrome is a sign that your kidneys aren't working right. As a result, you have:
You may also have high levels of cholesterol in your blood.
Nephrotic syndrome isn't a disease. It's a warning that something is damaging your kidneys. Without treatment, that problem could cause kidney failure. So it's important to get treatment right away.
Nephrotic syndrome can occur at any age. But it is most common in children between the ages of 18 months and 8 years.
The kidneys have tiny blood vessels called glomeruli that filter waste and extra water from the blood. Healthy kidneys keep the right amount of protein in the blood. Protein helps move water from the tissues into the blood. When the tiny filters are damaged, too much protein slips from the blood into the urine. As a result, fluid builds up in the tissues and causes swelling.
Nephrotic syndrome is often caused by:
Many other things can cause the blood vessel damage that leads to nephrotic syndrome, including:
Sometimes doctors don't know what causes it.
Symptoms may include:
Doctors diagnose nephrotic syndrome using:
A kidney biopsy may be done to find the cause. You may also have other tests to identify what is causing nephrotic syndrome.
Treatment aims to reverse, slow, or prevent further kidney damage. The treatment you need depends on your age and what health problem is causing nephrotic syndrome.
Some people may not need medicine if they are at low risk for problems or are getting better on their own. Others may need medicines that decrease the body's immune system response. These include:
Nephrotic syndrome can lead to other problems that may need treatment, including high blood pressure, blood clots, and high cholesterol or triglycerides. You might need medicines to treat these problems, such as:
Young children who get treatment usually get better and have no lasting problems. Often treatment is not as successful in older children and adults. If your symptoms are severe or they come back, you may need treatment for months to years, or even for the rest of your life.
If treatment doesn't stop the kidney damage, you may develop chronic kidney disease.
If you have nephrotic syndrome, it's important to:
There are also things you can do to reduce your symptoms and prevent other health problems.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
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|Healthy Eating: Eating Less Sodium|
Learning about nephrotic syndrome:
Living with nephrotic syndrome:
|American Kidney Fund|
|6110 Executive Boulevard|
|Rockville, MD 20852|
The American Kidney Fund is a national voluntary health organization dedicated to improving the daily lives of people who have chronic kidney disease. Its goal as a patient aid program is to relieve the financial burden associated with chronic kidney failure. Also, the organization's information service provides information about how to prevent and treat kidney disease and about the great need for organ donors.
|National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse|
|3 Information Way|
|Bethesda, MD 20892-3580|
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with these problems and to their families, to health professionals, and to the public. NKUDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient groups and government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.
NKUDIC, a federal agency, is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
|National Kidney Foundation|
|30 East 33rd Street|
|New York, NY 10016|
The National Kidney Foundation works to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases and help people affected by these conditions. Its website has a lot of information about adult and child conditions. The site has interactive tools, donor information, recipes for kidney disease patients, and message boards for many kidney topics. Free materials, such as brochures and newsletters, are available.
Other Works Consulted
- Kodner C (2009). Nephrotic syndrome in adults: Diagnosis and management. American Family Physician, 80(10): 1129–1134.
- Lee BK, Vincenti FG (2013). Diagnosis of medical renal disease. In JW McAninch, TF Lue, eds., Smith and Tanagho's General Urology, 18th ed., pp. 529–539. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Lewis JB, Neilson EG (2012). Glomerular diseases. In DL Longo et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2334–2354. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Palmer LS, Trachtman H (2012). Renal functional development and diseases in children. In AJ Wein et al., eds., Campbell-Walsh Urology, 10th ed., vol. 4, pp. 3002–3027. Philadelphia: Saunders.
- Praga M et al (2011). Primary glomerular diseases In ET Bope et al., eds., Conn's Current Therapy 2011, pp. 714–719. Philadelphia: Saunders.
- Watnik S, Dirkx T (2012). Kidney disease. In SJ McPhee, MA Papadakis, eds., 2012 Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 51st ed., pp. 874–911. New York: McGraw-Hill.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology|
|Last Revised||May 8, 2013|
Last Revised: May 8, 2013
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