Nephrotic Syndrome Overview

Nephrotic syndrome is a group of symptoms that include protein in the urine, low blood protein levels, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and swelling.

Causes

Nephrotic syndrome is caused by different disorders that damage the kidneys. This damage leads to the release of too much protein in the urine.

The most common cause in children is minimal change disease. Membranous glomerulonephritis is the most common cause in adults.

This condition can also occur from:

Cancer

Diseases such as diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple myeloma, and amyloidosis

Genetic disorders

Immune disorders

Infections (such as strep throat, hepatitis, or mononucleosis)

Use of certain drugs

Initial treatment

Treatment of nephrotic syndrome depends on the cause of the disease and may include:

Ongoing treatment

Ongoing treatment for nephrotic syndrome and complications of the disease include:

Treatment if the condition gets worse

Sometimes treatment for nephrotic syndrome is unsuccessful. If this occurs, you may develop chronic kidney disease. Your doctor may recommend that you beginhemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or consider a kidney transplant. For more information, see the topic Chronic Kidney Disease.

Clinical trials are ongoing to test more effective medicines for the treatment of steroid-resistant (relapsing) nephrotic syndrome. If treatment has not successfully controlled your nephrotic syndrome, ask your doctor about clinical trials. To take part in a clinical trial, you may need to travel to a large treatment center.

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