A medical disorder in which the kidneys cannot prevent protein leakage leading to a large quantity of protein loss in the urine is known as ‘Nephrotic Syndrome.’ The condition usually happens due to the damage caused in the filtration barrier of the glomerulus which are the individual functioning units of the kidney and are responsible for filtering out the body’s waste products.Hence this leads to an excessive flow of protein through urine. The medical disorder can be observed in individuals of any age group and gender. Hence, even children and infants can be affected by this disease.
Common Pathophysiology of Nephrotic syndrome involves glomerular damage– Glomeruli are a cluster of blood vessels in the kidneys responsible for filtration. A damaged glomerulus cannot prevent protein leakage from the kidneys, resulting in the excess passage of protein through urine.
Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome
Mentioned below are the various causes of Nephrotic Syndrome :
- Diabetic Kidney Disease- Diabetic kidney disease is one of the most common causes of Nephrotic Syndrome in adults. Early protein leakage is one of the hallmarks of diabetic kidney disease. Diabetic nephrotic syndrome causes a rapid progression of chronic kidney disease to End stage renal failure.
- Minimal Change Disease- It is a disease usually found in children and is one of the major causes of Nephrotic Syndrome in children. The medical condition leads to abnormal kidney functioning in children severely stunting their growth and development.
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis- In this medical condition, there is focal sclerosis of the glomerulus thereby leading to permanent damage of the kidneys and rapidly progressive renal failure.
- Membranous nephropathy- The medical condition is observed due to the thickening of membranes in the glomeruli due to deposits made by one’s own immune system. This condition is also one of the common causes of Nephrotic Syndrome.
Risk Factors of Nephrotic Syndrome
Certain risk factors associated with Nephrotic Syndrome, as per the latest research, are –
- Medications – Certain medications like antibiotics, primarily penicillin and its derivatives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, etc., may increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome occurence.
- Infections – Certain infections, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C virus, parvovirus B19, and human immunodeficiency virus, are linked to an increased risk of developing nephrotic syndrome.
- Age – The chances of developing nephrotic syndrome is high in children between 2 and 6 years of age. Although the main cause behind this correlation is unknown, some researchers have indicated that increased exposure to infections, which is common in childhood, is the main attributable factor.
- Genetics – Genetic inheritance is another one of the many risk factors associated with nephrotic syndrome. As per studies, approximately 30 percent of nephrotic syndrome cases are hereditary. Thus, if a family member of an individual has suffered from this ailment in the past, he or she is at a greater risk of developing the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome
Mentioned below are the various Signs and Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome, that helps the physician to detect this medical disorder in its incipient stage:
- Swollen Eyes– Excess protein loss leads to swelling of different body parts. Swollen eyes, feet, and ankles are among the most common symptoms of nephrotic syndrome. This sign is usually prominent when the affected individual wakes up from sleep.
- Foamy Urine– Foamy urine is another common symptom of nephrotic syndrome. Excessive frothyness while urinating, which is difficult to flush in the toilet, is an early hallmark of the disease.
- Weight Gain– Weight gain is also one of the common signs of nephrotic syndrome. It is due to significant water retention in the extravascular spaces of the body, secondary to hypoalbuminemia, which is a result of the massive protein leakage from the urine.
- Loss of Appetite– Loss of protein from urine also leads to loss of appetite or anorexia. It is a common symptom of nephrotic syndrome.
Treatment Options for Nephrotic Syndrome
- Medications – ACE inhibitors or Angiotension receptor blockers like Captopril, Enalapril, Telmisartan, Losartan are the primary medications that help to reduce the symptoms of this disorder. Further specific treatment is individual based depending upon the etiology of the disease.
- Blood Pressure Lowering Medications - Consumption of blood pressure lowering medication also helps in the Treatment of Nephrotic syndrome. These drugs help in maintaining optimal blood pressure, thereby reducing protein leakage from the urine.
- Blood Thinners- Blood thinners are helpful in preventing formation of blood clots in patients suffering from this disease, thus preventing catastrophic complications like deep venous thrombosis, stroke,cardiac morbidities and mortalities.
- Specific Treatment : Involves use of immunosuppresive medication like steroids, MMF, Tacrolimus, Endoxan in order to counteract the autoimmune pathophysiology of the specifiv disease.
- Albumin : Iv albumin is used in cases of severe disease in order to replenish the body’s diminishing protein reserves, secondary to significant proteinuria.
When to Consult a Doctor
Timely medical intervention can help cure many of these ailments or help in managing them. You can also get in touch with the expert Neurology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support to treat brain conditions, neurological disorders or any other health concern.
Treatment Options for Nephrotic syndrome help reduce the symptoms of the medical disorder. Nephrotic syndrome is a medical disease caused due to release of excess protein from the body through urination. The medical condition is irrelevant to age and can be observed in children and older people.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is nephrotic syndrome?
A. A medical disorder caused by excessive protein leakage through urination.
Q. What causes nephrotic syndrome?
A. Underlying kidney disorders, diabetic kidney disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous nephropathy, certain infections and drugs are some of the common causes of nephrotic syndrome.
Q. What are the common symptoms of nephrotic syndrome?
A. Foamy urine, swelling of eyes, hands, and feet, headache, weakness, and other similar health issues are common nephrotic disorder symptoms.
Q. How is nephrotic syndrome diagnosed?
A. Urine tests, blood tests, Ultrasound imaging and kidney biopsy helps in the diagnosis nephrotic syndrome.
Q. What is the treatment for nephrotic syndrome?
A. ACE inhibitors/ARB’s, blood thinners, iv Albumin and immunosuppressive medication like steroids are some of the common treatment options for nephrotic syndrome.
Approved and Reviewed by Dr. Sudeep Singh Sachdev