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What causes nephrotic syndrome?

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What causes nephrotic syndrome?

Renal Sciences | Posted on 08/22/2022 by RBH


In the complex mesh of our body’s machinery, the kidneys have an important role to play when it comes to maintaining the overall well-being of the body and health. Kidneys, bean-shaped organs located beneath the ribcage often do not get the kind of attention they deserve truly. Even then, they ensure toiling day in and out and filter waste including too many substances from the blood to maintain the natural balance of our body’s internal atmosphere. But have you ever thought what will happen if these organs experience a malfunction in their system? This is where a condition named nephrotic syndrome makes its entry. 

Nephrotic syndrome is not a common condition, but its impact is determined to be profound. The condition affects all age groups from children to adults and old age people. It interrupts regular kidney function and leaves the patient struggling with difficult symptoms. It is vital to comprehend its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. In this blog, you will find a comprehensive discussion on nephrotic syndrome. However, kindly understand that it is research-based information and we do not encourage overlooking the doctor’s consultation in any way. 

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What is Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic syndrome is a type of kidney disorder that is usually caused when the body passes too much protein in the urine. In this, the small blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste and lose excessive water from the blood get damaged which further causes swelling in feet and ankles that lead to other health-related problems and life-threatening conditions. The kidney is made up of small filtering units that are known as nephrons and each nephron is a filter in itself that helps infiltration of blood and removes extra waste and water forming the urine. In nephrotic syndrome, the glomerulus that filters blood gets damaged and allows too much protein to leak out from the blood into the urine which causes severe health-related issues.

What are the types of nephrotic syndrome?

Several types of nephrotic syndrome are there and they are categorized depending on their underlying causes and histological components. Here are the types:

  • Primary nephrotic syndrome- It involves minimal change disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous nephropathy, and membranoproliferative and glomerulonephritis.
  • Secondary nephrotic syndrome- It can occur due to an underlying condition like diabetes, lupus, hepatitis infections B or C, and amyloidosis. 
  • Genetic forms- It can be caused by rare genetic disorders like Alport syndrome and congenital nephrotic syndrome. 
  • Drug-induced nephrotic syndrome- It is an outcome of medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and anti-cancer drugs. 

What are common nephrotic syndrome symptoms?

The nephrotic syndrome shows a group of symptoms that indicate that there is some issue with the Kidneys and they not functioning properly. Some of the commonly found symptoms and warning signs might include:

  • The high amount of protein in urine or proteinuria
  • Foamy urine
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • High levels of cholesterol or hyperlipidemia
  • Low protein level or hypoalbuminemia
  • Swelling in ankles, feet, and around the eyes; also known as edema
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Urine changes
  • Blood clots in urine
  • Frequent Infection

What are nephrotic syndrome causes?

It is necessary to identify the actual cause of kidney problems. One should consult an expert nephrologist so that the symptom is not mistaken for something else. Accurate diagnosis is very important for any kind of disease as in many cases the condition of the patient becomes worse as they are not able to get the correct treatment since the diagnosis is not accurate. 

As mentioned earlier, nephrotic syndrome is caused due to damage in the blood vessels or glomeruli present in the kidneys. A healthy kidney or glamour keeps albumin, which is a healthy protein, well maintained in the body. But when the glomeruli get damaged, the glomeruli release excessive protein from the body which ultimately leads to nephrotic syndrome. Some other conditions that might cause nephrotic syndrome might include:

  • Diabetic kidney disease
  • Lupus
  • Membranous nephropathy
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Amyloidosis
  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • Membranous neuropathy
  • Minimal changes disease
  • Infection
  • Kidney disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammation of the kidney or glomerulus
  • Multiple myeloma or lymphoma
  • Hepatitis

What are the Nephrotic Syndrome complications?

It is important to consider the treatment of nephrotic syndrome after it’s diagnosed. If it is left untreated, here are the complications that can occur:

What are the options available for nephrotic syndrome treatment?

Diagnosis is very important to provide proper treatment for the condition so that the person can find relief as soon as possible. The best neurologist in Jaipur uses different kinds of medications and treatment methods some of which might include:

  • Diuretics help to release extra fluid to lower inflammation or swelling.
  • Blood training medications are given to reduce the ability of blood to clot so that there is less pressure in the kidney and there is no pain while passing the urine.
  • Immune system suppressant drugs are given to keep the system in control and treat conditions such as lupus diabetic Kidney Disease etc.
  • Blood pressure medications are given to individuals who have low blood pressure so that they do not lose protein in the urine for which angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and blockers are given.


Nephrotic syndrome is an intricate clinical condition affecting countless numbers of individuals across the globe. The condition can be a perplexing and challenging problem when it comes to managing it. With the constant advancement in the clinical field and treatment options, people diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome can lead a life filled with quality. Patients should work with their healthcare professionals like dietitians, nephrologists, etc. They will assist in developing a customized treatment plan. It might include lifestyle changes like dietary modifications, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, etc. With the assistance of medical professionals, patients with nephrotic syndrome can easily enjoy their life.



Is nephrotic syndrome curable?

No cure is available for nephrotic syndrome, but with the right medical care symptoms and its effects can be managed.

Is nephrotic syndrome dangerous?

If left untreated, nephrotic syndrome can be life-threatening and can cause kidneys to lose their ability to function properly.

Is nephrotic syndrome reversible?

If the cause of nephrotic syndrome is treated, then it might go away and kidneys can begin to function normally like before.