Nephrotic syndrome is a degenerative kidney disorder. In it, kidneys release excessive amount of protein into the urine – significantly reducing the amount protein in the body and disturbing the water-electrolyte balance in the body. This leads to edema or swelling (usually in ankles or feet) in the body, hypertension as well as accumulation of excessive amount of fat or cholesterol in your blood, which in turn causes various health problems.
The disease is caused by damage to the clusters of small blood vessels, known as glomeruli, in your kidneys, which filter waste and excess water from your blood. When healthy, the glomeruli help to keep your blood protein (mainly albumin) in your body and prevent it from seeping into your urine. However, any damage to the glomeruli affects it functioning, preventing it from stopping the protein to pass into your urine and eventually leave your body.
Any type of kidney disease, metabolic conditions, prolonged illness or recurring infection can lead to the abnormal functioning of glomeruli, giving rise to nephrotic syndrome.
Symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome
Some of the main warning signs of nephrotic syndrome include:
- Edema or severe swelling in feet, ankles or around the eyes
- Cloudy urine
- Excessive weight gain due to water retention
- Loss of appetite
Nephrotic syndrome can lead to various health complications, which can be life-threatening. These include:
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Blood clots
- Chronic kidney disease
- Low levels of Vitamin D
- Acute kidney injury
Ways to Prevent Nephrotic Syndrome
Though the disease is usually treated and controlled through medications, diet too plays a critical role in managing the symptoms and preventing complications. It is essential for a patient suffering from nephrotic syndrome to consume a diet that’s low in salt, fat, proteins and cholesterol. However, it should be rich in dietary fibers that come through fruits and vegetables. So, while you may think that in order to accommodate loss of protein, you need a high protein diet, it’s not the case. In fact, a diet that’s high in dietary proteins can make your kidney function worse.
Therefore, patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome should:
- Limit their intake of processed food products that are usually rich in salt.
- Avoid canned meats, ready-to-make soups, salted potato chips, popcorns and salted nuts.
- Avoid topping up salads with high-salt dressings, seasonings and condiments.
- Limit the intake of MSG, Worcestershire sauce, olives, pickles, oyster sauce, and soy sauce.
- Restrict the use of cheese, mayonnaise, ketchups, and excessive oil in their food.
- Include high-fiber vegetables in their diet. These may include lettuce, bean sprouts, green beans, green onion, cabbage, cucumber, green peppers, corn, and cauliflower.
- Eat at least two servings of fruits a day. The fruits may include apples, pears, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, peaches, oranges, and more.
- Choose lean meats, eggs, fish, lamb and chicken over processed varieties.
- Include unsalted nuts, peanuts and soy products in their diet.
- Substitute salts and pickles with herbs, spices, and garlic powder.
- Be mindful of their protein intake. A person suffering from nephrotic syndrome should not consume protein that’s more than 1 gram per kilogram of body weight per day. However, the amount largely depends on the health of his/her kidneys.
At EPIC Health, we can help you effectively manage and maintain the health of your kidneys. Our seasoned urologists use the latest diagnostic tools and techniques to understand the exact condition of your kidneys and offer you the expert medicinal support to treat your existing condition. Our expert nutritionists can help you inculcate the right dietary modifications and lifestyle practices to control and prevent the long-term implications of nephrotic syndrome as well as other kidney disorders.
For expert consultation and advice, schedule an appointment with our healthcare experts today!
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