Edema, or swelling, or water retention, is one of the most common and noticeable nephrotic syndrome symptoms. Scroll down to know more about the symptoms, causes and treatment for this syndrome.
Nephrotic syndrome is not a disease, it is a kidney disorder which is characterized by large amount of protein content in urine. Kidney is one of the most important organs in our body. It purifies blood and excretes waste materials out of the body in the form of urine. Kidney filters excess water, salt and waste products from the blood. Virtually there is no protein in the urine, but in nephrotic syndrome, the kidney is unable to filter the blood properly and leaks a lot of protein in the urine which may hinder the proper functioning of the body. Proteinuria is a common term which is used for protein in urine. The most common nephrotic syndrome symptoms is fluid retention or edema, which can be noticed in any part of the body.
Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome
The process of blood filtration which takes place inside the kidney is performed by numerous nephron. Each nephron consists of glomerulus and tubule. Glomerulus behaves as a filter and separates excess water, salt and waste products from the blood cells and protein. Blood cells and protein are sent back to the heart, whereas the rest of the products are passed to the tubule and is collected in the urinary bladder. This liquid is then excreted from the body in the form of urine. In nephrotic syndrome the glomerulus is unable to function properly and hence, leaks out a large amount of protein in the urine. Due to this, body lacks protein and is unable to function properly.
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), glomerular disorders, diabetes, consumption of drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which causes harm to the kidney, amyloidosis, heart failure, allergic reactions, minimal change disease are some of the causes of nephrotic syndrome. Following are some of the prominent symptoms which can be observed in a person suffering from nephrotic syndrome.
- Protein content in the blood helps to absorb water from the tissues and maintain proper water content in the body. But due to the excretion of protein in nephrotic syndrome, blood is unable to absorb water which may result in fluid retention or edema or swelling. This symptom is observed in most people suffering from this syndrome. The swelling can be observed in eyelids and face specially in the morning as the fluid gets accumulated in these areas due to lying down. While in the day time due to standing and sitting it may spread to hands and feet. In later stages it may be observed in abdomen and even in some internal parts.
- Patient may experience respiratory problems like shortness of breath, shallow or rapid breathing. This may be caused due to the build up of fluid in the lungs.
- There will be a reduction in the quantity of urine, and it will appear frothy. Patient will also feel like urinating very few times as compared to his daily routine.
- Edema in bowel wall may result in diarrhea. Vomiting may also be observed in some cases.
- The patient becomes susceptible to infection and can develop fever. This is commonly observed in children suffering from this disorder.
- Blood clots in blood vessels can also be observed in few cases which may result in sever pain and temperature change in the affected area.
- Hematuria or blood in urine may be observed in few patients.
- High level of cholesterol can be observed in the blood which can give birth to other diseases.
- High blood pressure, tiredness, lethargy and loss of appetite are some of the other symptoms of nephrotic syndrome.
Blood and urine tests will be conducted to confirm nephrotic syndrome which will be followed by some more test to find out the causes behind the syndrome.The treatment will be according to the causes. Water tablets or diuretics, immune system suppressing medications, high blood pressure medications, can be recommended to treat this syndrome.
Apart from medications one needs to follow proper diet for nephrotic syndrome which may include low salt diet and calcium rich food, whereas fat and cholesterol should be eliminated completely. If this syndrome is left untreated it may result in chronic kidney diseases which may even lead to kidney failure. So, as soon as you observe the above symptoms, get it diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.