Definition of Nephrotic syndrome
Nephrotic syndrome is a group of symptoms including protein in the urine (more than 3.5 grams per day), low blood protein levels, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and swelling.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Nephrotic syndrome is caused by various disorders that damage the kidneys, particularly the basement membrane of the glomerulus. This immediately causes abnormal excretion of protein in the urine.
Swelling (edema) is the most common symptom. It may occur:
Signs and tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam. Laboratory tests will be done to see how well the kidneys are working. They include:
The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms, prevent complications and delay progressive kidney damage. Treatment of the disorder that causes the condition is necessary to control nephrotic syndrome. Treatment may be needed for life.
The outcome varies; the syndrome may be acute and short-term or chronic and unresponsive to therapy. The cause and development of complications also affects the outcome.
Parul Patel, MD, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology and Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center, Department of Transplantation, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/13/2009