What is Nephrotic Syndrome?
Nephrotic Syndrome is a kidney condition that involves very high levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria), low levels of protein in the blood, swelling from a buildup of fluids in the body and high cholesterol.
One of the primary symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome is fluid retention. Protein is partly responsible for helping the body keep its fluid balance. Protein is normally filtered through the kidneys and absorbed into the blood. Normally, protein is too large to fit through the kidneys' filters. However, when the kidneys do not work properly, protein can leak into the urine instead of being absorbed by the body. As a result, there is no longer enough protein remaining in the blood to maintain a healthy fluid balance and water build up in the body. This is called edema, and if you have it, you may experience swelling in your ankles, hands, or around your eyes. Severe swelling can also develop in the legs, abdomen, and back, and may even affect your breathing if there is fluid around your lungs.
A routine urinalysis showing excess protein in your urine is the way most people find out they have Nephrotic Syndrome. Next, your doctor may determine that it is necessary for you to have a kidney biopsy. This will help your doctor make a firm diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome and learn what is causing it so it can be treated.
Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome:
Fluid retention is a main symptom of nephrotic syndrome since protein is being lost through the urine. Water retention causes symptoms of swelling primarily around the eyes, legs, ankles, or fingers. If you have any of the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome, your doctor will want to make a firm diagnosis to figure out the underlying causes of your symptoms.(more)
What Causes Nephrotic Syndrome?
Nephrotic syndrome has many causes, some of which are unknown. Often, it is caused by other illnesses that damage the kidneys. Diabetes is one example. Several other diseases can cause Nephrotic Syndrome including amyloidosis, Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), and membranous nephropathy.
Controlling nephrotic syndrome is achieved by controlling the disease that caused it. For example, if you are a diabetic, controlling your diet and blood sugar levels could prevent damage to the kidneys that are often associated with nephrotic syndrome. If high cholesterol and high blood pressure are a possible cause, reducing either of them may help. However, in many cases the cause according to western medicine is not known, and treatment varies according to symptoms.(more)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other Eastern medicine philosophies have very different views on the cause of nephrotic syndrome. Instead of looking at this condition via specific physical symptoms, eastern medicine practitioners focus on identifying specific imbalances within the individualís body in order to prescribe the appropriate course of herbal combinations or dietary recommendations.
Nephrotic Syndrome Treatments:
Because there is not one single cause of nephrotic syndrome, it is very important to understand why you have it since it is important to treat the underlying cause, rather than just the symptoms. This is the best way to treat the disorder and prevent further damage to the kidneys. If it is left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure--either acute or chronic renal failure.
Medications and diet changes that reduce the amount of protein in the urine can also help. A urinalysis will confirm protein levels in urine. X-rays of the kidneys or a kidney biopsy may then be necessary to determine appropriate treatment. Once the specific kidney disease or disorder is diagnosed, then your doctor will probably monitor the protein levels in your urine via urinalysis on a regular basis. (more)
In eastern medicine, instead of prescribing western medicine based treatments or prescribing medications for kidney related symptoms, eastern medicine physicians give their patients natural herbal formulas that offer support and balance to the body as a whole. Their goal is to detoxify the body while supporting the kidney and other key organs in order for the body to heal itself and restore proper kidney filtration and function. We feel this approach to be better and more natural since you are not treating the disease but rather supporting the bodyís ability to heal.