Nephrotic Syndrome in Adults
Nephrotic Syndrome in Adults
Nephrotic syndrome is a condition marked by very high levels of protein in the urine; low levels of protein in the blood; swelling, especially around the eyes, feet, and hands; and high cholesterol. Nephrotic syndrome results from damage to the kidneys’ glomeruli (the singular form is glomerulus). Glomeruli are tiny blood vessels that filter waste and excess water from the blood and send them to the bladder as urine.
Nephrotic syndrome can occur with many diseases, including the kidney diseases caused by diabetes mellitus, but some causes are unknown. Prevention of nephrotic syndrome relies on controlling these diseases.
Treatment of nephrotic syndrome focuses on identifying the underlying cause if possible and reducing high cholesterol, blood pressure, and protein in urine through diet, medications, or both. One group of blood pressure medications called ACE inhibitors also protects the kidneys in diabetic patients.
Nephrotic syndrome may go away once the underlying cause, if known, has been treated. In children, 80 percent of nephrotic syndrome cases are caused by minimal change disease, which can be successfully treated with prednisone. However, in adults most of the time a kidney disease is the underlying cause, and these diseases cannot be cured. In these cases, the kidneys may gradually lose their ability to filter wastes and excess water from the blood. If kidney failure occurs, the patient will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
More information is available from
American Kidney Fund
6110 Executive Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20852
Tel: (800) 638-8299
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
Tel: (301) 592-8573
National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (800) 622-9010
Additional Information on Nephrotic Syndrome
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E-mail: National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1987, the clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NKUDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.
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NIH Publication No. 99-4624