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    Nephrotic Syndrome

    Nephrotic syndrome is a condition marked by very high levels of protein in the urine; low levels of protein in the blood; swelling, especially around the eyes, feet, and hands; and high cholesterol. Nephrotic syndrome results from damage to the kidneys' glomeruli (the singular form is glomerulus). Glomeruli are a network of capilaries that filter waste and excess water from the blood and send them to the bladder as urine.

    Nephrotic syndrome can occur with many diseases, including the kidney diseases caused by diabetes mellitus, but some causes are unknown. Treatment of nephrotic syndrome relies on controlling these diseases.

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    Treatment of nephrotic syndrome focuses on identifying the underlying cause if possible and reducing high cholesterol, blood pressure, and protein in urine through diet, medications, or both. One group of blood pressure medications called ACE inhibitors also protects the kidneys in diabetic patients and patients with protein in their urine.

    Nephrotic syndrome may go away once the underlying cause, if known, has been treated. However, most of the time a kidney disease is the underlying cause. Sometimes the type of disease is obvious, such as diabetes, but often a kidney biopsy is required. Depending on the disease, a cure may or may not be possible. In cases where the disease cannot be halted or reversed, the kidneys may gradually lose their ability to filter wastes and excess water from the blood. If kidney failure occurs, the patient will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

    For More Information

    American Kidney Fund
    6110 Executive Boulevard
    Rockville, MD 20852
    (800) 638-8299

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
    Information Center
    P.O. Box 30105
    Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
    nhlbiic@dgysys.com
    (301) 251-1222

    National Kidney Foundation
    30 East 33rd Street
    New York, NY 10016
    (800) 622-9010

    Additional Information on Nephrotic Syndrome

    The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse collects resource information on kidney and urologic diseases for the Combined Health Information Database (CHID). CHID is a database produced by health-related agencies of the Federal Government. This database provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources.

    To provide you with the most up-to-date resources, information specialists at the clearinghouse created an automatic search of CHID. Or, if you wish to perform your own search of the database, you may access the CHID Online web site (http://chid.nih.gov) and search CHID yourself.

    WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

    Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on March 28, 2016

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