Nephrotic syndrome: What you need to know

Nephrotic syndrome is a combination of various symptoms that cause kidney damage. When kidney cells are no longer able to perform their function, typical symptoms appear, such as high loss of protein in the urine and fluid retention in the tissues (edema). Nephrotic syndrome can develop in children and adults.

Nephrotic syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome: description

Nephrotic syndrome does not describe an independent disease. Rather, the time of frequent occurrence of certain symptoms and complaints caused by kidney failure. Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by pathological loss of protein in the urine (proteinuria). This loss of protein leads to other symptoms such as fluid retention in the tissues and increased lipids in the blood. Nephrotic syndrome can occur in children and adults.

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Nephrotic syndrome: symptoms

Nephrotic syndrome causes characteristic symptoms. They can be attributed mainly to the loss of important proteins. As a rule, nephrotic syndrome is associated with the following symptoms:

  • Protein in the urine (proteinuria): People often notice that their urine is very foamy.
  • Fluid retention in the tissues (edema): nephrotic syndrome in particular causes edema of the face (especially the eyelids) and of the feet, ankles and calves.
  • Deficiency of protein in the blood (hypoproteinemia)
  • High blood lipids
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Hypersensitivity to infection: The body also loses antibodies around damaged kidneys.
  • Blood clots (thrombosis): Loss of protein causes a disorder in the coagulation system. This can make it easier for a blood clot to form.

The symptoms that cause nephrotic syndrome can be different. As a result, some people experience little discomfort, while others quickly create a full picture of the syndrome.

Nephrotic syndrome: causes and risk factors

The cause of nephrotic syndrome is kidney damage. Doctors distinguish whether the disease is from the kidneys themselves (primary kidney disease) or has developed from another disease that is initially non-kidney. Then you talk about secondary kidney disease.

The kidneys as filtration systems

The function of the kidneys in the body is to filter the blood and rid it of metabolic wastes - so-called urinary substances. Larger components, such as proteins or sugar molecules, normally support the kidneys, which means that these substances stay in the blood. The kidneys also regulate blood pressure by controlling water balance and ensuring the right amount of salt (electrolytes) in the blood.

The kidneys perform a filtering function thanks to a special anatomical structure: the renal bodies (Glumerolum) and the renal tubules (Tubulus) together form a nephron, the smallest functional unit of the organ.

Defective filter function

Nephrotic syndrome is caused by damage to the kidneys (glomerulopathy). They become more permeable, activating their "filter pairs" - until they can no longer perform their filter function. It will then lose many important blood components (especially proteins) which are usually lost. As a result, nephrotic syndrome develops.

Nephrotic syndrome: causes in adults

Nephrotic syndrome in adults is usually caused by:

  • Chronic inflammatory diseases of the kidney cells:  This includes what's called membrane glomerulopathy, in which mass antibodies build up in kidney cells. Nephrotic syndrome in adults is usually caused by this disease.
  • Diabetes:  In particular, the kidneys formed in kidney cells during diabetes interfere with the filtering function of the kidneys. Over time, especially when diabetes is left untreated or poorly controlled, the damage can become so severe that nephrotic syndrome develops.
  • Minimal changes in glomeruli (minimal changes in glomerulopathy):  impairment of damage to certain immune cells (T cells) in kidney cells. The disease causes nephrotic syndrome in about ten percent of adults.

Less common causes of nephrotic syndrome in adults are certain autoimmune diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus) and in the elderly, so-called amyloidosis, in which protein-bound protein deposits form in the organs.

Nephrotic syndrome: causes in children

Minimal change glomerulopathy (minimal change glomerulonephritis) is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in children.

Nephrotic syndrome : research and diagnosis

Nephrotic syndrome usually causes typical symptoms that already provide important evidence for a diagnosis. In some cases, the suspicious diagnosis also occurs unintentionally, for example, if high levels of protein are seen in the urinalysis. For  urine  Simple test strips that are submerged in the urine for a few minutes are usually used.

If there is an abnormal amount of protein in the urine, additional tests are done. Often a second, more precise protein determination, this time from a urine sample taken within 24 hours. A healthy person does not excrete more than 150 mg of protein per day; If you have nephrotic syndrome this can be 3500 mg per day.

Blood tests  are also  needed for  a more thorough diagnosis  If your doctor has diagnosed nephrotic syndrome, there is usually a  tissue sample (biopsy)  needed from the kidney to determine the exact cause of the disease. As part of the surgical procedure, the doctor removes a small piece of kidney tissue, which is then examined histologically.

Nephrotic syndrome: treatment

Nephrotic syndrome is usually treated based on the underlying condition. However, since this is not always considered to be causal, therapeutic measures are usually designed to relieve symptoms:

Nephrotic syndrome is often accompanied by  high blood pressure  . To normalize this and reduce the significant loss of protein, doctors usually take antihypertensive drugs (such as ACE inhibitors). Lowering blood pressure is particularly important because persistent blood pressure further damages the kidneys.

The formation of  swelling  is characteristic of nephrotic syndrome. In general, water deposits can be removed well with dehydrating agents called diuretics. To prevent fluid from building up in the tissues, your doctor will also set a daily rate of alcohol and salt intake (no more than six grams per day). Since diuretics release not only water but also more and more electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium), your doctor will regularly check the amount of mineral salts in your blood. The drainage should not be too sudden, otherwise the body loses too much fluid in a short time. This increases the risk of blood clots.

Nephrotic syndrome is associated with an increased risk of blood clots  (risk of thrombosis)  . To prevent thrombosis, patients are given medicines that inhibit blood clotting (such as low molecular weight heparin). Wearing compression stockings also protects against blood clots. If you have already developed a thrombosis, your doctor will prescribe anticoagulants, usually of the class of coumarins.

In some cases, the nephrotic syndrome is called an  increase in blood lipids  . They can also be treated with medicines that lower cholesterol (such as ESC inhibitors). However, a diet low in fat and cholesterol does not have enough effect.

Nephrotic syndrome is often accompanied by a  weakened immune system  and  hypersensitivity to infection  . This is due to an increased loss of antibodies (immunoglobulins) in the urine. Bacterial infections can be fought with antibiotics. If a large amount of antibody is lost, the missing immunoglobulins can be at least partially replaced by fillers. However, if you lose protein, the antibodies will be lost and replaced. In some cases, vaccination can be useful to protect against certain infections, such as pneumococci or the flu (“real” flu).

Causes treatment

Membrane glomerulopathy, one of the most common causes of nephrotic syndrome in adults, is caused by a disorder of the immune system. Drugs that suppress defense and suppress inflammatory reactions (so-called immunosuppressive) are used here.

In children, minimal change in glomerulopathy is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome. In most cases, treatment also works well with immunosuppressive drugs such as cortisone. However, recurrence (recurrence) of half of affected children after stopping the drug. Doctors can then use other means (such as cyclosporin A).

Nephrotic syndrome: course and prognosis of the disease

The nature of nephrotic syndrome depends mainly on the cause of the underlying disease. If the treatment is good, the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome usually go away after a while.

In most cases, the kidney detox function is maintained. Whether the kidneys are in  nephrotic syndrome  but severely damaged, over time chronic renal failure or kidney failure can develop.

If you are suffering from nephrotic syndrome, this natural treatment is for you. Contact our experts directly to start the treatment:  +33644661758 / +22990312738 (also available on WhatsApp). Or find out more about the treatment by clicking here

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