What is Nephrotic Syndrome?
Nephrotic syndrome is a nonspecific kidney disorder characterized by a number of signs of disease:
- protein in the urine (Proteinuria),
- low blood protein levels (Hypo-albuminemia),
- high cholesterol levels (Hyper-lipidaemia),
- high triglyceride levels and
- swelling (Edema) especially in feet and ankle region.
Nephrotic syndrome is usually caused by damage to the clusters of small blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste and excess water from the blood.
Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome
Nephrotic syndrome is caused by different disorders that damage the kidneys.
The glomeruli filter the blood as it passes through the kidneys, separating things your body needs from those it doesn’t. Healthy glomeruli keep blood protein (mainly albumin) which is needed to maintain the right amount of fluid in your body from seeping into your urine.
When damaged, glomeruli allow too much blood protein to leave your body, leading to Nephrotic syndrome.
Many diseases and conditions can cause glomerular damage and lead to Nephrotic syndrome, including:
- Minimal change disease. The most common cause of Nephrotic syndrome in children, this disorder results in abnormal kidney function, but when the kidney tissue is examined under a microscope, it appears normal or nearly normal. The cause of the abnormal function typically can’t be determined.
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Characterized by scattered scarring of some of the glomeruli, this condition may result from another disease or a genetic defect or occur for no known reason.
- Membranous nephropathy. This kidney disorder is the result of thickening membranes within the glomeruli. The exact cause of the thickening isn’t known, but it’s sometimes associated with other medical conditions, such as hepatitis B, malaria, lupus and cancer.
- Diabetic kidney disease. Diabetes can lead to kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) that affects the glomeruli.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus. This chronic inflammatory disease can lead to serious kidney damage.
- Amyloidosis. This disorder occurs when substances called amyloid proteins accumulate in your organs. Amyloid buildup often affects the kidneys, damaging their filtering system.
- Blood clot in a kidney vein. Renal vein thrombosis, which occurs when a blood clot blocks a vein connected to the kidney, can cause nephrotic syndrome.
- Heart failure. Some forms of heart failure, such as constrictive pericarditis and severe right heart failure, can cause nephrotic syndrome.
Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome
Swelling (edema) is the most common symptom. It may occur:
- In the face and around the eyes (facial swelling)
- In the arms and legs, especially in the feet and ankles
- In the belly area (swollen abdomen)
Other symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome include:
- Foamy appearance of the urine
- Poor appetite
- Weight gain (unintentional) from fluid retention
Diagnosis of Nephrotic Syndrome
Exams and Tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam. Laboratory tests will be done to see how well the kidneys are working. They include:
- Urine tests. A urinalysis can reveal abnormalities in your urine, such as large amounts of protein, if you have nephrotic syndrome. You may be asked to collect urine samples over 24 hours for an accurate measure of the protein in your urine.
- Blood tests. If you have nephrotic syndrome, a blood test may show low levels of the protein albumin (hypoalbuminemia) specifically and often decreased levels of blood protein overall.
Loss of albumin is often associated with an increase in blood cholesterol and blood triglycerides.
Serum creatinine and blood urea also may be measured to assess your overall kidney function.
- Removing a sample of kidney tissue for testing. Your doctor may recommend a procedure called a kidney biopsy to remove a small sample of kidney tissue for testing. During a kidney biopsy, a special needle is inserted through your skin and into your kidney. Kidney tissue is collected and sent to a lab for testing. A kidney biopsy may be needed to find the cause of the disorder.
Treatment for Nephrotic Syndrome
The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms, prevent complications, and delay kidney damage. To control nephrotic syndrome, treating the underline disorder that is causing it is important.
- Keep blood pressure at or below 130/80 mmHg to delay kidney damage. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are the medicines most often used. ACE inhibitors may also help decrease the amount of protein lost in the urine.
- Corticosteroids and other drugs that suppress or quiet the immune system.
- Treat high cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel problems. A low-salt diet may help with swelling in the hands and legs. Water pills (diuretics) may also help with this problem.
- Low-protein diets may be helpful.
- V supplements if nephrotic syndrome is long-term and not responding to treatment.
- Blood thinners may be needed to treat or prevent blood clots.
Prognosis of Nephrotic Syndrome
The outcome varies.
The condition may be acute and short-term or chronic and not respond to treatment. The complications that occur can also affect the outcome.
Some people may eventually need dialysis and a kidney transplant.
- Acute kidney failure
- Atherosclerosis and related heart diseases
- Chronic kidney disease
- Fluid overload, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema
- Infections, including pneumococcal pneumonia
- Renal vein thrombosis
Homeopathic treatment for Nephrotic Syndrome
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition.
The homeopathic medicines are selected after a detailed history taking ,full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc.
A predisposition / susceptibility are also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions.
Every Individual patient receives the medicine as per his Individualization.
Following are some of the medicines which are prescribed commonly at Welling Clinic for the treatment of Nephrotic syndrome:
Apis, Arsenic album, Cantharis, Digitalis, Merc cor, Phos, Terebinth, Zincum met..etc.