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Nephrotic Syndrome: Diet, Causes & Prevention| Medanta

What is Nephrotic Syndrome?


Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder that causes your kidneys to excrete excess proteins from the body in your urine.


There are numerous small-sized blood vessels in your kidney that aid in clearing extra wastes and water from your blood, functioning as a filter. The waste and excess water that is filtered out reaches the urinary bladder, from where it is removed from our body in the form of urine.


Glomeruli - the small sized blood vessels stand responsible to filter excess fluids and waste. When these vessels are damaged, excess proteins slip out of the filters into the urine resulting in nephrotic syndrome. Nephrotic syndrome can occur in both children and adults and is treatable with medications and dietary changes.


Here are a few nephrotic syndrome symptoms:


Albuminuria: Presence of a huge amount of protein in the urine.


Hyperlipidaemia: This symptom causes more than the normal range of cholesterol and fat in the blood.


Edema: It causes swelling in the feet, legs, or ankle and may also sometimes result in swelling on the face and hands.


Hypoalbuminemia: It causes a lower level of albumin content in the blood.



Signs of Nephrotic Syndrome


In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, people may also experience the below given nephrotic syndrome symptoms:

  • Foamy urine
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain



Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome


Nephrotic syndrome is mainly caused when the glomeruli blood vessels in the kidney are damaged. Glomeruli retain the blood protein required to maintain a perfect balance of the amount of fluid in the body and prevent it from seeping into the urine. But when glomeruli get damaged, an excess amount of blood protein seeps into the urine, causing nephrotic syndrome. Besides this, there are other diseases and underlying health conditions that can also result in nephrotic syndrome. Here are a few of them:


Minimal change disease: This condition is more common in kids and results in abnormal functioning of the kidneys. But, when the kidney tissues are observed under the microscope, the abnormality cannot be diagnosed as the tissue appears normal.


Diabetic kidney disease: Also known as diabetic nephropathy, diabetes or raised sugar levels can also cause kidney damage that directly affects the functioning of glomeruli.


Amyloidosis: Amyloid build-up can be harmful as it can damage the filtering system of the kidneys. Amyloidosis occurs when the amyloid proteins start accumulating in the organs of your body.


Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis: This causes scarring of glomeruli. It can be caused due to other underlying diseases and genetic disorders. This is one of the most significant causes that result in nephrotic syndrome in adults. Sometimes this condition may also be caused due to medications and can even show up for no known reason.


Membranous nephropathy: This kind of disorder occurs due to the thickening of the membranes inside the glomeruli. The thickening of the membrane mainly occurs due to the deposits of the immune system. It can also occur due to other medical conditions such as hepatitis B, cancer, malaria, lupus, etc.



Diet for Nephrotic Syndrome


Diet has a positive impact on treating nephrotic syndrome. Changing your eating habits can help in managing the symptoms. You can consider consulting a dietitian to know about the amount of protein, fats, and salts that you should include in your nephrotic syndrome diet to treat this medical condition.


People who have been diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome should limit their intake of sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterols as per the instructions of a dietitian to control further damage to the kidneys.


Treatment of Nephrotic Syndrome


Nephrotic syndrome treatment may vary from person to person and majorly depends on the cause of the syndrome. Lowering cholesterol levels, blood pressure and reducing edema may be the primary goal for doctors to treat nephrotic syndrome. Further, they may prescribe you medications that can help in lowering the protein seepage in the urine. The doctors may also prescribe blood thinners and anticoagulants to prevent the occurrence of blood clots, besides giving you cholesterol-lowering drugs.


If the condition doesn’t get better with the prescribed nephrotic syndrome treatment, then the patient might need to undergo dialysis.



Some causes of nephrotic syndrome cannot be prevented, but you can surely follow measures that can help prevent the damage caused to the glomeruli. Here is how you can prevent it:


  • If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure that you follow all means to gain control over your sugar and BP level.
  • Also, ensure that you are vaccinated for all sorts of common infections, especially if you live or work in a surrounding where people are infected with hepatitis or other common diseases.
  • If antibiotics are prescribed, do take them per the doctor's direction and complete the medication course as per the prescription, even if you feel better.


Medanta Medical Team
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