Nephrotic Syndrome

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Nephrotic Syndrome

By | November 2008
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Nephrotic syndrome is a group of symptoms including protein in the urine, low blood protein levels, high cholesterol levels, and swelling. The urine may also contain fat, which can be seen under the microscope.

Nephrotic syndrome is caused by various disorders that damage the kidneys, especially the basement membrane of the glomerulus. This causes abnormal excretion of protein in the urine.

This condition can also occur as a result of infection, use of certain drugs, cancer, genetic disorders, immune disorders, or diseases that affect multiple body systems including diabetes, lupus, multiple myeloma, and amyloidosis

Nephrotic syndrome can affect all age groups. In children, it’s most common from age 2 to 6. This disorder occurs slightly more often in males than females.

The first symptom of nephrotic syndrome is often foamy urine. As it progresses, swelling is noticed in the eyelids, hands, feet, knees, scrotum, and abdomen. The person will feel weak and tired. Their appetite will decrease. The loss of protein causes the muscles to become weak and small. Because the kidneys are involved in blood pressure regulation, abnormally low or high blood pressure may develope.

Complications of nephrotic syndrome may include venous thrombosis which occurs in the renal veins. Infection is due to leakage of immunoglobulins, bacteria such as influenzae, and streptococcus. Acute renal failure, despite the excess fluid in the tissues, there is less in the vasculature. Decreased blood flow to the kidneys will cause them to shutdown. Pulmonary edema is due to fluid leak, which sometimes leaks into the lungs causing hypoxia and dyspenia. Growth retardation is due to protein deficiency from the loss of protein in urine. Vitamin D deficiency can occur also.

Over time, the protein loss will result in a generally malnourished state. Hair and nails become brittle, and growth is stunted. Bone becomes weak, and the body begins to lose other important nutrients...