The kidneys are vital for a healthy body and perform a function of utmost importance as the body’s filtering system! However, due to many various causes we can develop various kidney diseases, which can be fatal. Therefore, we should be well informed about the causes, symptoms and treatments to take an informed decision regarding our kidney health!
- What is Nephrotic Syndrome?
This is a disorder of the kidneys which leads to the excreting of an access of protein into the urine. Generally Nephrotic Syndrome is caused due to damage caused to the glomeruli, (small blood vessels) inside the kidneys which filter excess water and other waste substances from the bloodstream.
Oedema (swelling) especially in your ankles and feet are caused by nephrotic syndrome. This may result in elevating your risk to attract other health disorders.
To treat nephrotic syndrome it’s necessary to treat the hidden condition which causes it and take medication. This kidney disorder can heighten your risk of blood clots and infections. Your medical practitioner may prescribe medication as well as to change your diet to avert this disorder as well as further handicaps of nephrotic syndrome.
- Nephrotic Syndrome See The Symptoms
Nephrotic syndrome’s symptoms include:
- Foamy type of urine due to excess protein in the urine
- Extreme oedema (swelling) which will especially appear in the feet, ankles and around the eyes.
- Gaining weight caused by the excessive retention of fluids.
- Risk Factors Regarding Nephrotic Syndrome
The following facets can heighten your risk to develop nephrotic syndrome:
- Some medications
Infection-fighting- and anti-inflammatory drugs which are not non-steroidal can cause nephrotic syndrome.
- Medical diseases which can be damaging to your kidneys
Some diseases and ailments heighten the risk that you can develop nephrotic syndrome. These conditions include: lupus, diabetes, minimal change disorder, amyloidosis as well as other kidney illnesses.
- Particular infections
Infections which can elevate your risk to develop nephrotic syndrome are: malaria, hepatitis B, HIV and hepatitis C
- Other Possible Causes
There are many ailments and diseases which can be damaging to the glomeruli and result in nephrotic syndrome. These causes include:
- Minimal change disease
This disorder poses to be the most universal cause in children of nephrotic syndrome. Due to this disease the kidneys don’t function normally. However, in cases where the kidney tissue comes under microscopic examination, it appears either nearly normal or normal. Therefore, the source why the kidneys are not functioning normally can’t be established.
- Membranous nephropathy
Due to this kidney disease, the membranes inside the glomeruli thicken. However, the specific cause is not yet exactly determined. Other medical illnesses are sometimes linked to this, including: cancer, lupus, hepatitis B and malaria
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
This kidney disease is depicted by dispersed scarring in some glomeruli. This disorder can be caused due to a genetic defect or originated from another illness. There is no specific cause for this condition.
Substances, which are known as amyloidal proteins, cause a build-up inside your organs. The accumulation of these substances often results in harm to the kidneys filtering system.
- Heart failure
Certain types of heart failure can lead to nephrotic syndrome, which include: extreme right heart failure and constrictive pericarditis.
- A blood clot inside a kidney-vein
Kidney vein thrombosis arises when a vein joined to your kidney is blocked by a blood clot and can result in nephrotic syndrome.
- When to Consult your Doctor
Consult your doctor when any worrying symptoms or signs appear!
Nephrotic syndrome can include the under-mentioned complications:
- Heightened levels of Blood triglycerides and high blood cholesterol
When your protein albumin level in your blood drops, it triggers the liver to produce more albumin. Simultaneously, more triglycerides and cholesterol are released by the liver.
- Blood Clots
The glomerulus’s incapability to filter your blood appropriately, can result in losing blood proteins, which function it is to avert clotting. This leads to an increasing risk to develop thrombus (a blood clot) in your veins.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Harm done to the glomeruli as well as the build-up of waste products, as a result of such harm in the bloodstream, can heighten your blood pressure.
- Insufficient nutrition
Malnutrition can occur when an access of blood protein is lost. This can result in losing weight, although it could be concealed by swelling. Low levels of calcium and vitamin D as well as anaemia (inefficient red blood-cells), may occur.
- CKD (chronic kidney disease)
Due to nephrotic syndrome the functioning of your kidneys may deteriorate over a period of time. When your kidney function drops too low, either a kidney transplant or dialysis will be needed.
- Critical kidney failure
When your kidneys become incapable to filter your blood because of harm to your glomeruli, a quick build-up of waste materials can occur. In such a case you may require emergency dialysis of the kidneys. This is a procedure where additional waste and fluids are removed from the bloodstream via a dialyser (artificial kidney-machine).
Patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome have an elevated risk to develop infections.
- How to Prepare for your Doctor’s Consultation
If you are experiencing any symptoms about which you are concerned, it is advisable to make an appointment with your medical professional. If your doctor is of the opinion that you are suffering from a kidney disorder, like nephrotic syndrome, he/she can refer you to a nephrologist (kidney specialist).
- Tips to follow
You can follow the under-mentioned tips before your consultation with your doctor:
- Take notice of all restrictions before your consultation
When you book your appointment, enquire whether there is something you must do prior to your consultation, for example specific foods or liquid you should avoid.
- Make a list of principal personal information
Write down your main information, which can include something such as recent changes in your life or major stresses.
Include all symptoms and signs you had observed and include those that may not be related to your reason for consulting your doctor.
Take someone with you to assist you to remember the detailed information given during your consultation.
- Write down the following
medications you are using
- Make a list of questions
Make a list of questions you want to ask the doctor. In the case of nephrotic syndrome, the under-mentioned question will be relevant:
- Is this disorder permanent or not?
- What can be the most apparent cause of nephrotic syndrome?
- What will my treatment options be? Which option will you suggest for me?
- What will be the benefits and risks for every treatment?
- I am suffering from more health disorders. What is the best way to manage all of these disorders?
- Is it necessary to change my lifestyle or diet to assist me to feel healthier? Can a dietician assist me?
- Is a generic alternative available to replace the medication prescribed to me?
- Do you have printed material or brochures I can take home? Which websites do you suggest?
- Can you tell me when to make a follow-up appointment?
- What will the symptoms be when I should immediately call for help?
During your consultation you can ask any other question on your mind.
- What you may learn from your medical practitioner
Your doctor may ask you some questions, like:
- When did you observed the symptoms for the first time?
- Is there something that improves the symptoms?
- Are these symptoms of an extreme nature?
- Is there anything that worsens these symptoms?
- The Tests & Diagnosis
Procedures and tests which are used for the diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome include:
- Blood Tests
In the case of nephrotic syndrome, blood testing may reveal dropped levels of the albumin protein, called hypoalbuminemia particularly and many times an overall decreased level of your blood-protein. An escalation in the blood triglycerides and blood cholesterol are often linked to the loss of albumin. However, your blood urea and serum creatinine can also be determined to evaluate the overall functioning of your kidneys.
- Urine Tests
A sample of your urine will be analysed which can reveal any abnormality in the urine, like an excess of protein, when you are a nephrotic syndrome sufferer. Your doctor can also request a collection of urine samples over a period of 24-hours which can determine the correct measure of protein present in the urine.
- The removal of a tissue sample from your kidneys
A kidney biopsy may be suggested by your doctor where a small sample will be removed from your kidney-tissue for examining. A special needle will be inserted via your skin, into the kidney, during such a biopsy. The collected kidney tissue will be transferred to a laboratory for testing.
Home Cures and Lifestyle
With nephrotic syndrome you can change your diet which can assist you to handle this disorder better. Your doctor may suggest the services of a dietician which can prescribe a diet which can assist you to manage difficulties of the nephrotic syndrome-disorder. The dietician may suggest the following:
- To follow a diet low in sodium (salt) to assist in managing oedema (swelling) in ankles, feet & around the eyes
- To opt for lean protein products
- Treatments and Medications
The treatment of nehprotic syndrome entails the treatment of any hidden medical disorder which may be the cause of nephrotic syndrome. Your medical professional can also suggest some medication which can assist you in managing the symptoms and signs and / or to treat the issues arising from nephrotic syndrome. These drugs may include:
- Diuretics (Water Pills)
Water pills can assist to managing the swelling by elevating the fluid-output of the kidneys. Examples of diuretic medicines are Lasix (furosemide) and Aldactone (spironolactone).
- Hypertension medications
High blood pressure medications which are known as angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibitors decrease the blood pressure whilst it simultaneously decrease the quantity of the protein discharged into your urine. These types of medications include: Lotensin (benazepril), Capoten (captopril) and Vasotec (enlapril). Another collection of medications which function in the same manner is known as angiotensin-II receptor-blockers, including Diovan (valsartan) & Cozaar (losartan).
- Blood thinning drugs
Drugs known as anticoagulants assist to reduce the ability of your blood to clot and decrease the risk to develop blood clots. Warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin is anticoagulants.
Drugs to regulate your immune system, like corticosteroids, may reduce the inflammation which occurs with particular kidney conditions, like minimal change disease.
- Cholesterol-reducing drugs
Drugs known as statins can assist in lowering the levels of cholesterol in your blood. Although it is presently not clear if cholesterol-reducing drugs can especially improve the end results of patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome, like reducing the threat of an early death or averting heart attacks. Statin drugs are Lipitor (atorvastatin), Altoprev, Mevacor (lovastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin).