When too much protein is excreted in the urine a medical condition nephortic syndrome occurs. It occurs because of damaged clusters of small blood vessels in the kidneys which filter the waste and excess water from the blood. The syndrome causes swelling especially in the feet and ankles. It can also increase the risk of other health problems. The treatments generally mean treatment of the underlying condition that causes the nephrotic syndrome. Nephrotic syndrome makes the risk of infections and blood clots higher. These and similar complications are usually prevented by medications or going on a specific diet.



The symptoms of nephrotic syndrome can be:

  • Edema-severe swelling around the eyes, in the ankles and feet
  • Foamy urine that is caused by the excess of proteins in the urine
  • Gaining weight because of the higher level of fluids in the body



Nephrotic syndrome occurs when the tiny blood vessels clusters in the kidney are being damaged. The clusters of small blood vessels are called glomeruli. They filter the blood separating good and bad substances. Good glomeruli keep blood protein that is needed for maintaining right amount of fluid in the body from leaking into the urine. If the glomeruli are damaged, too much blood protein can leave the body. This leads to nephrotic syndrome.

A lot of conditions and diseases can cause damage to the glomeruli:

  • Abnormal kidney function that cannot be easily determined because the kidney tissue appears normal under the microscope (minimal change disease)
  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • Membranous nephropathy
  • Diabetic kidney disease
  • Amyloidosis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Blood clot in a kidney vein
  • Heart failure


Risk factors

Factors that augment the risk of nephrotic syndrome are:

  • Medical conditions that damage the kidneys such as diabetes, lupus, amyloidosis, minimal change disease and other kidney diseases
  • Some medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or drugs that fight infections
  • Some infections as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and malaria



Some of the complications that can happen are:

  • Blood clots
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Higher amount of triglycerides in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • Malnutrition
  • Infections
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Chronic kidney disease



The treatment of nephrotic syndrome typically means treatment for any underlying disease that causes the nephrotic syndrome. The medications that the doctor can prescribe are usually some of the following:

  • Medications for blood pressure
  • Water pills that control the swelling
  • Drugs that reduce the level of cholesterol
  • Medicine that suppresses the immune system
  • Blood thinners that reduce the risk of blood clots


Certain dietary changes have proven to be helpful in coping with nephrotic syndrome. It is good to see a specialist that can discuss what is good to eat in order to deal with the syndrome symptoms and prevent possible complications more easily. A dietitians usually suggest that a person having the nephrotic syndrome should:

  • Eat lean proteins
  • Eat meals low in salt to help in controlling the swelling that usually occurs with the nephrotic syndrome
  • Reduce fat and cholesterol from the eating plan in order to control the level of cholesterol in the blood