Health A-Z

Nephrotic Syndrome

Clinical Definition

Nephrotic syndrome, a collection of symptoms and laboratory findings that indicate renal damage, is marked by heavy protein in the urine, peripheral edema and hypoalbuminemia. Hyperlipidemia and thrombotic disease are also common. In adults, renal or systemic disease such as diabetes may be the cause; in children, minimal change disease is the major cause. Urinalysis, albumin blood tests and blood chemistry panels are used to diagnose. A kidney biopsy may be necessary to pinpoint the cause. Treatments include anti-hypertensives, statins and low-protein or low-sodium diets.

In Our Own Words

Nephrotic syndrome is a collection of symptoms and laboratory findings that point to kidney damage. Those with the syndrome have high levels of protein in the urine, higher than normal bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, swelling of the legs, feet or ankles and low levels of the protein albumin in the blood. Weight gain, fatigue, foamy urine and appetite loss are the symptoms. Blood tests and a urinalysis help diagnose; a biopsy of the kidney may be need to find the cause, such as kidney disease or diseases affecting the whole body.

Treatment options include medicines to lower blood pressure or cholesterol or special diets that keep salt and protein at low levels.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Weight gain (fluid retention)
  • Fatigue
  • Foamy urine
  • Loss of appetitev
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