Nephritic Syndrome

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Nephritic syndrome is a collection of symptoms due to kidney damage. This includes protein in the urine, low blood albumin levels, high blood lipids, and significant swelling. Other symptoms may include weight gain, feeling tired, and foamy urine. Complications may include blood clots, infections, and high blood pressure.

Causes include a number of kidney diseases such as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous nephropathy, and minimal change disease. It may also occur as a complication of diabetes or lupus. The underlying mechanism typically involves damage to the glomeruli of the kidney. Diagnosis is typically based on urine testing and sometimes a kidney biopsy. It differs from nephritic syndrome in that there are no red blood cells in the urine.

Treatment is directed at the underlying cause. Other efforts include managing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and infection risk. A low salt diet and limiting fluids is often recommended. About 5 per 100,000 people are affected per year. The usual underlying cause varies between children and adults.

Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by large amounts of proteinuria (>3.5 g per 1.73 m2 body surface area per day,[6] or > 40 mg per square meter body surface area per hour in children), hypoalbuminemia (< 2.5 g/dl), hyperlipidaemia, and edema that begins in the face. Lipiduria (lipids in urine) can also occur, but is not essential for the diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome. Hyponatremia also occurs with a low fractional sodium excretion.

A few other characteristics seen in nephrotic syndrome are:

  • The most common sign is excess fluid in the body due to the serum hypoalbuminemia. Lower serum oncotic pressure causes fluid to accumulate in the interstitial tissues. Sodium and water retention aggravates the edema. This may take several forms:
  • Puffiness around the eyes, characteristically in the morning.
  • Pitting edema over the legs.
  • Fluid in the pleural cavity causing pleural effusion. More commonly associated with excess fluid is pulmonary edema.
  • Fluid in the peritoneal cavity causing ascites.
  • Generalized edema throughout the body known as anasarca.
  • Most of the people with Nephoritic syndrome are normotensive but hypertension (rarely) may also occur.
  • Anaemia (iron resistant microcytic hypochromic type) maybe present due to transferrin loss.

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Clinical Nephrology and Research: Open Access
Email: clinicalnephrology@molecularbiol.com
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