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Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney problem that causes excessive excretion of proteins in the urine, due to changes in the kidneys that can be triggered by diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis or HIV infection, or be a consequence of use excessive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, resulting in symptoms such as foamy urine, loss of appetite, and swelling in the feet and ankles.
In most cases, nephrotic syndrome is curable, as long as the cause is identified and the treatment is carried out according to the doctor's guidance. However, when the nephrotic syndrome is congenital and/or is related to genetic alterations, treatment aims to promote symptom relief, which can be done through the use of medications and dietary changes.
Nephrotic syndrome symptoms
The main symptoms related to nephrotic syndrome are:
- Swelling in the ankles and feet;
- Swelling in the face, especially in the eyelids;
- General malaise;
- Abdominal pain and swelling;
- Loss of appetite;
- Presence of protein in urine;
- Foamy urine.
In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of nephrotic syndrome, it is important that the nephrologist or pediatrician, in the case of children, be consulted, as it is possible for an assessment of the present symptoms to be carried out and the performance of diagnostic tests such as urinalysis, 24-hour urine test, blood count, abdominal ultrasound, and in some cases, kidney biopsy.
Nephrotic syndrome can be present from birth due to renal alterations, so that some children may already be born with this alteration, being called congenital nephrotic syndrome. However, it is also possible that this syndrome is a consequence of other conditions, such as genetic alterations, diabetes, hypertension, systemic lupus erythematosus, heart disease, viral or bacterial infections, cancer or frequent or excessive use of some medications.
Treatment for nephrotic syndrome
Treatment for nephrotic syndrome should be guided by a nephrologist and usually includes the use of medication to relieve symptoms caused by the syndrome, which include:
- High blood pressure medications, such as Captopril, which work by lowering blood pressure;
- Diuretics, such as Furosemide or Spironolactone, which increase the amount of water eliminated by the kidneys, decreasing the swelling caused by the syndrome;
- Medicines to reduce the action of the immune system, such as corticosteroids, as they help reduce inflammation in the kidneys, relieving symptoms.
Also, in some cases, it may also be necessary to take blood-thinning medication, such as Heparin or Warfarin, or cholesterol-lowering medication, such as Atorvastatin or Simvastatin, to reduce fat levels in the blood and urine that increase due to the syndrome, preventing the emergence of complications such as embolism or renal failure, for example.
What to eat
The nephrotic syndrome diet helps to relieve the symptoms caused by the problem and prevent further damage to the kidneys. Thus, it is recommended to have a balanced diet, but low in s alty or fatty foods, such as fried foods, sausages or processed foods, for example. If the swelling, called edema, is massive, your doctor may recommend restricting your fluid intake. However, the diet should always be individually guided by a nutritionist according to the symptoms presented.