Nephrotic syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that appear when the kidneys are not able to perform at their best due to some underlying disorder. This nephrotic syndrome is a direct result of damage to the basic filtering unit of the kidney referred to as glomeruli which consist of tiny capillaries through which blood gushes at high pressure which forces the impurities out through the thin walls of these capillaries. The damaged glomeruli result in leakage of excess protein into the urine along with the waste products which gives it a foamy appearance.
What causes Nephrotic Syndrome?
As we already now understand, the main reason for nephrotic syndrome is the damage to glomeruli, now this damage is categorized into two types which are primary and secondary. In the primary cause, the condition responsible for the damage caused to the kidneys originates in the kidney itself, and in the case of the secondary cause, the damage to the kidneys is the result of an issue with some other part of the body that indirectly harms the kidney also.
The main causes of nephrotic syndrome include the following:-
– Minimal change disease: It is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in the case of children. For people having this condition, the kidney tissues are relatively smaller than usual. Although it isn’t quite clearly understood how these small cells cause problems in the normal functioning of the kidneys.
– Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis: Also known as FSGS, this is a scarring disease of the glomeruli. In adults, It is the most prevalent cause of nephrotic syndrome. V virus (such as HIV) can also induce FSGS, as can drugs, gene abnormalities, obesity, high blood pressure, and vascular diseases.
– Membranous nephropathy: It is a condition in which the glomerular membranes thicken. majority of the primary membranous nephropathies are caused by PLA2R antibodies. Malaria, cancer, hepatitis B, and lupus are all possible secondary causes.
– Diabetes: It’s the second most dominant causative factor of nephrotic syndrome in the case of adults. The harm done to the kidneys due to diabetes is known as diabetic nephropathy.
– Lupus: Also referred to as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which is a disease of the immune system, that can severely destroy the kidneys.
– Amyloidosis: It is a condition in which there is an accumulation of compounds known as amyloid proteins in the blood. This can be harmful to the kidneys.
What are the symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome?
– Severe swelling (edema), notably around the eyes, ankles, and feet
– Foamy urine (caused by an excess of protein in urine)
– Weight increase as a result of fluid retention
– Appetite loss
Method of diagnosis for Nephrotic Syndrome
– Urine Analysis: A urinalysis can detect anomalies in the urine, such as high protein levels. One may be requested to produce urine samples over the course of 24 hours.
– Blood Test: A blood test can reveal low quantities of the protein albumin, as well as a lack of essential blood protein. Albumin deficiency is frequently related to increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The amounts of creatinine and urea nitrogen in the blood may also be examined to assess the overall kidney function.
– Kidney biopsy: The doctor may advise taking a tiny kidney tissue sample for evaluation. In this process, a needle is pushed through the skin and into the kidney, the tissue collected is later sent to the laboratory for in-depth testing
Methods of treatment of Nephrotic Syndrome
– Blood Pressure Medicine: To help check the damage due to high blood pressure and prevent loss of protein through leakage.
– Corticosteroids: These medicines lower the cholesterol levels in the body, although the direct correlation between lower levels of cholesterol and the nephrotic syndrome hasn’t been established yet.
– Changes in the diet: Build a nutritious diet suited to one’s needs in collaboration with the healthcare professional and a nutritionist will be of great help. Generally, it is advised to reduce the consumption of fat and cholesterol along with salt and liquids.
– Diuretics: These drugs are used to treat fluid build-up and swelling. Diuretics can also help to lower blood pressure.
– Immunosuppressive Medications: These medications help reduce swelling and inflammation, which is one of the main causes of nephrotic syndrome.
Methods of prevention
Some causative factors of nephrotic syndrome cannot be avoided. However, there are steps one can take to protect their glomeruli:
– People having diabetes and hypertension should take special care to keep them both under check.
– Making sure that one is vaccinated against the most commonly spreading infections, special care should be taken for Hepatitis.
– If the doctor recommends antibiotics, take them exactly as instructed and finish the entire course, even if the conditions get better