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Aurora magazine

Nephrotic syndrome: what it is and how it manifests itself

Nephrotic syndrome is a disease that affects about 1 to 7 people per 100,000 each year. In those who suffer from it, the filtering units of the kidneys are damaged. This causes an escape of the proteins in the urine, with consequent deficit for the organism. The lack of proteins in the body also causes retention of salts and liquids, and therefore swelling. In addition, protein deficiency is linked to an increase in fat production by the liver.

Those suffering from nephrotic syndrome tend to have a swelling on the whole body, especially legs and stomach. Sick subjects urinate little and increase in weight apparently without reason. However, the manifestations can change based on whether you are dealing with primary or secondary nephrotic syndrome. The secondary is the result of other diseases, such as cancer or HIV. The most common types of the primary, however, are "glomerulonephritis with minimal lesions" and "segmental focal glomerulosclerosis".

Glomerulonephritis with minimal lesions is the most common type among children. 75% of those suffering from the disease suffer from it, compared to 20% of adults. This type is treatable with corticosteroid drugs, but rarely the effects are permanent. 60% of patients suffer from one or more recurrences of the disease. On the other hand, segmental focal glomerulosclerosis is difficult to treat and often leads to kidney loss.

The diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome occurs through:

  • Urine analysis. A too high level of protein in the urine is one of the most important symptoms. The analyzes are done on the urine collected over 24 hours.
  • Blood analysis. The levels of hypo-albuminemia and hyperlipidemia are measured.
  • Renal biopsy. Doctors take a fragment of kidney and examine the filter units to see if they are damaged.