Nephrotic Syndrome

Also known as: kidney disease.

What is nephrotic syndrome?

Nephrotic syndrome is a group of symptoms caused by kidney damage (particularly to the small blood vessels which filter blood - “the glomeruli”) which results in children generally between the ages of 2-6 years, leaking a protein (albumin) normally found in blood, into the urine.

What causes nephrotic syndrome?

A number of conditions can damage the glomeruli. Mostly no cause (idiopathic nephrotic syndrome) is found for the most common type of damage (minimal change lesion-MCNS) seen in children (more frequently in boys). Other causes of damage to the glomeruli include other kidney diseases, immune system abnormalities, infections (like HIV, hepatitis B and C and malaria), allergies to foods, and a variety of medications and other drugs (rarely there is a genetic inherited cause).

What are the signs/symptoms of nephrotic syndrome?

Because of the damage to the glomeruli, there are large amounts of protein in the urine, (with low levels in blood), high levels of cholesterol in the blood, fluid retention with swelling all over the body (edema) particularly in the abdomen, but also the ankles, feet and/or face, weight gain, and less but foamy urine output. Fatigue, decreased appetite, and pale skin and fingernails may also be present.

What are nephrotic syndrome care options? 

Specific treatments depend on the cause and severity of the disease. Initially hospitalization may be required. Treating the underlying medical condition if present plus other medications which might include corticosteroids, immunosuppressives, intravenous albumin, drugs to remove excess body fluid (diuretics) and a special diet may all be utilized.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:18:31 PM

From the Newsdesk

Nicklaus Children’s Opens Subspecialty Care Center in Boynton Beach
11/07/2017 — The Boynton Beach Care Center is the newest Nicklaus Children’s care location and offers a range of services for children from birth through 21 years of age.
March Patient of the Month: Milagros
03/08/2017 — At 12 years old, Milagros was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself. In Milagros’ case, the disease attacked her kidneys, and a few years after her diagnosis, her kidneys completely shut down.

Video

video
At 12 years old, Milagros was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself. In Milagros’ case, the disease attacked her kidneys, and a few years after her diagnosis, her kidneys completely shut down.