Nephrotic Syndrome

This type comes on more insidiously, with tissue swelling (edema) tending to persist for many months. Blood in the urine is usually not a prominent feature, but protein is a critical feature, leading to serious depletion of the protein content of the blood. The patient may never fully recover, and the condition may linger on for years before final renal failure develops.

Nephrotic Syndrome Symptoms

This type of nephritis is claimed to be less common than the previous type mentioned. Most patients tend to follow a long, chronic course. Often the patient is diagnosed on a routine medical examination when protein is found by chance in the urine, often producing “frothy urine” with bubbles on the surface. This may occur many months before the appearance of the edema.

However, once edema sets in, it tends to progress rapidly and may become extremely massive. It may become generalized, affecting the face, hands, trunk and legs. It may make its first appearance with a puffiness of the eyelids, or swelling of the feet gradually extending up the lower limbs. The patient may feel quite well apart from the edema.

Alternatively, there may be a complaint of tiredness, nausea and reduced appetite, probably some abdominal pain or shortness of breath. The face tends to be pale, eyelids and cheeks puffy. When checked, the urine is shown to contain massive amounts of protein. The blood pressure may be only moderately raised. The patient is usually diagnosed by renal biopsy, when kidney cells are examined under the microscope by the pathologist.

Nephrotic Syndrome Treatment

As with other forms of kidney disease, attention in a unit dealing with these problems is the best. Here, bed rest is often started, even though the patient is in a chronic stage by the time treatment is being sought.

The objective of therapy is to counteract the protein loss by giving a high protein intake, and to make efforts to encourage fluid loss by administering diuretic drugs and thereby checking the gross edema. Severe swelling may present a major problem, especially in an overweight patient.

Complete cure with this type of disorder is rare, and it tends to develop into a chronic condition, running a progressively downhill course. The outlook is often closely related to the degree of blood pressure that tends to develop.