Nephrotic syndrome is a common feature of many diseases. It occurs when the glomerulus of the kidney cannot keep protein from being excreted in the kidney. Normally, the glomerulus serves as the filtration site and functional unit of the kidney. Most proteins, which are large molecules, are not excreted in the urine. Although most adult forms of this disorder are related to specific diseases, about 15-20 percent of adults that develop nephrotic syndrome have no known cause. In children, the average age of onset of this disorder is 3-4 years. The disorder in childhood is varcharacterized by protein in the urine, swelling of the skin and organs. In children, boys are more commonly affected.
Causes of Nephrotic Syndrome
In children, nephrotic syndrome usually is caused from minimal change disease, or lipoid nephrosis. In adults, the most common causes of nephrotic syndrome include diabetes, multiple myeloma, glomerulonephritis and systemic lupus erythematosis. Sometimes this disorder can be related to drug exposure, autoimmune disorders, serum sickness or malignancy somewhere else in the body. About 15-20 percent of cases in adults are idiopathic, they have no known cause
Signs and Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome
Nephrotic syndrome produces mostly non-specific symptoms. These include fluid retention and edema. This swelling usually appears first around the eyes, the ankles and, eventually the abdomen. The urine may appear abnormally frothy. In severe cases, there can be reduced urine output. Loss of appetite, generalized weakness and general ill feeling occurs. When nephrotic syndrome is caused by an infection or a drug, it often resolves after the drug has been stopped or the infection has been cured. The vast majority of children and adults who develop this disorder do not go on to develop renal failure.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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