Nephrotic syndrome - symptoms and treatment

What is Nephrotic Syndrome

A constellation of symptoms that result as a consequence of conditions that damage the glomeruli within the renal nephrons. The damage allows excessive protein to move through the walls of the glomeruli into the filtrate. The tubules are unable to reabsorb the large protein molecules, so the body ends up excreting the protein in the URINE (ALBUMINURIA). The excessive excretion of protein results in HYPOALBUMINEMIA, or low levels of ALBUMIN in the BLOOD circulation. The hypoalbuminemia allows fluid to leave the blood circulation and enter the interstitial tissues, where it accumulates to cause edema (swelling). Because the blood volume is now low, the KIDNEYS compensate by reabsorbing higher levels of water and sodium.

Most people who have nephrotic syndrome have diagnosed kidney disease so the underlying cause is clear. When indications of nephrotic syndrome occur in someone who does not have kidney disease, the diagnostic path begins with blood and urine tests to assess kidney function. Further diagnostic procedures then strive to identify the underlying renal condition. Treatment targets the underlying renal condition as well as symptoms such as HYPERTENSION (high BLOOD PRESSURE) and RENAL FAILURE. Treatment may include RENAL DIALYSIS when renal function is significantly impaired. The outlook depends on the underlying renal condition and its response to treatment. Symptoms of nephrotic syndrome generally resolve when the underlying condition improves.


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