What Does

"proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome"

Mean?
You have 2 kidneys.

Each is bean-shaped and about the size of a fist. They are important organs that help you filter out waste from your body. That includes filtering out waste products from your blood.

But sometimes your kidneys’ filtering system doesn’t work the way that it should.

This can lead to a problem called proteinuria.

What is proteinuria?

In simple terms, proteinuria is when there is too much protein in your urine. Now, it’s normal to have some protein in your urine. But an excessive amount of it for too long a time can be a warning sign.

It’s important to know that you can develop temporary proteinuria. This happens when the level of protein in your urine rises for a short time.

But high levels of chronic proteinuria may also be a sign of a more serious condition. If you have proteinuria, it’s important to work with your doctor. He or she can assess your condition. Together, you and your doctor can create a plan that may help lower your chronic proteinuria.

Sounds complicated? We think so too.

But we can help simplify it for you.

Let’s take a closer look.

Proteinuria

  • PROTEIN
  • WASTE

Understanding How the Kidneys Work

Having Chronic Proteinuria Is a Problem

Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs with many important functions. For example, they release hormones into the body and help control blood pressure.

But these are not the only important functions your kidneys carry out.

The kidneys have tiny blood vessels. These are called glomeruli.

The glomeruli act as filters.

They help your body filter out harmful toxins from your blood.

But if a problem arises with the glomeruli, the kidneys’ filtering system may not work the way it should.

If the glomeruli can’t filter your blood the way they should, they allow protein to “spill over” from your blood into your urine. The amount of protein passed out of your body through urine may increase to very high levels.

When this happens there’s too much protein in your urine, and there may not be enough protein in your blood.

Your body is at risk of not getting the nutritional benefit that protein provides.

But it's important to know that chronic proteinuria may be managed through treatment and a healthy diet and lifestyle. That’s because if your urinary protein levels stay high for too long, it can lead to kidney problems or failure.

Keep scrolling to see how the kidneys work.

Keep scrolling to see the signs and symptoms that are associated with proteinuria.

BLOOD

URINE

Proteinuria

(proh-tee-noo r-ee-uh)
Having Proteinuria in Nephrotic Syndrome Is a Problem

Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs with many important functions. For example, they release hormones into the body and help control blood pressure.

But these are not the only important functions your kidneys carry out.

The kidneys have tiny blood vessels. These are called glomeruli.

The glomeruli act as filters.

They help your body filter out waste from your blood.

Having Proteinuria in Nephrotic Syndrome Is a Problem
Having Proteinuria in Nephrotic Syndrome Is a Problem

But if a problem arises with the glomeruli, the kidneys’ filtering system may not work the way it should.

If the glomeruli can’t filter your blood the way they should, they allow protein to “spill over” from your blood into your urine.

When this happens there’s too much protein in your urine, and there may not be enough protein in your blood.

Your body is at risk to get the nutritional benefit that protein provides.

Having Proteinuria in Nephrotic Syndrome Is a Problem

There is no cure for nephrotic syndrome. But it may be managed through treatment and a healthy diet and lifestyle. That’s because if your urinary protein levels stay high for too long, it can lead to kidney problems or failure.

Signs and Symptoms

ASSOCIATED WITH PROTEINURIA IN NEPHROTIC SYNDROME

Signs and Symptoms

ASSOCIATED WITH PROTEINURIA IN NEPHROTIC SYNDROME

  • Foamy–looking urine
  • Swelling (edema)—especially in the face or ankles
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Too much protein in the urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low levels of protein in the blood
What is nephrotic syndrome?

(proh-tee-noo r-eeh-uh) in (nuh-frot-ik sin-drohm)

what is nephrotic synedrome

Nephrotic comes from the Greek word “nephros,” which means “kidney.” And the word syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that together may be caused by a specific disease. The most common symptoms that are associated with nephrotic syndrome are:

  • Excessive amounts of protein in your urine, also known as proteinuria
  • Low levels of protein in your blood
  • High cholesterol
  • Swelling (edema) caused by a buildup of fluids in the body or skin
Though proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome is rare, it can affect most anyone.

Even so, more men tend to develop it than women. Also, in many cases it is “idiopathic.” This means that its cause is not known.

Do you have one of these
kidney conditions?

Click or tap on the names below to learn
more about each condition.

Proteinuria in Nephrotic
Syndrome may be related to
the following conditions

Healthy kidneys perform many vital functions. One important function is to remove harmful toxins from your blood. These toxins are removed by the glomeruli. Glomeruli are tiny filter screens in your kidneys. When the toxins are removed they are passed out of your body in the urine. At the same time, the kidneys help your body absorb proteins and other crucial substances needed for life.

But if a problem arises, the filters in the kidneys may not work the way they should. When this happens, the amount of protein passed out of your body in urine may increase to high levels. In some cases, this can be a sign of one of the following diseases:

If you do have one of these conditions, it may lead to kidney problems and cause proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome.

In the US, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is one of the causes of nephrotic syndrome. Though it’s more common in African-Americans and Hispanics, it appears to be on the rise in all racial groups today.

SECONDARY Causes

It’s important to know that proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome may also occur as a result of other possible causes. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

Membranous Nephropathy (MN)

Your glomeruli become thick and inflamed.

Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)

Scar tissue forms on your glomeruli.

Minimal Change Disease (MCD)

Your glomeruli are damaged, but the damage can only be seen through an electron microscope.

Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis (MPGN)

Inflammation and abnormal changes occur in your kidney cells.

Lupus Nephritis (LN)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) can cause kidney inflammation.

IgA Nephropathy (IgA)

Glomeruli become inflamed and impaired. This is caused by the abnormal buildup of an antibody (IgA) in the kidney.

If you do have one of these conditions, it may lead to kidney problems and cause proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome.

In the US, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is one of the causes of nephrotic syndrome. Though it’s more common in African-Americans and Hispanics, it appears to be on the rise in all racial groups today.

SECONDARY Causes

It’s important to know that proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome may also occur as a result of other possible causes. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

Diabetes

A disease that impacts a person’s blood-sugar levels. It can affect how your body produces and uses energy.

Hepatitis B or C

Two types of virus that can cause liver disease.

Amyloidosis

(am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a rare condition in which a type of protein builds up in your kidneys.

Multiple myeloma

is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells and can cause kidney problems.

HIV

A type of virus that attacks a person’s immune system and causes AIDS.

Approximately 31 million people in the US are believed to have kidney disease.

Kidney disease is a general term for problems that reduce function of the kidney.

In some people, proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome can be a sign of kidney disease. Watch as several people living with this condition share their experiences from pre-diagnosis to living with this condition every day.

Approximately 31 million people in the US are believed to have kidney disease.

Kidney disease is a general term for problems that reduce function of the kidney.

In some people, proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome can be a sign of kidney disease. Watch as several people living with this condition share their experiences from pre-diagnosis to living with this condition every day.

It’s important to take note of any signs and symptoms you may experience. It can help you to better inform your doctor during your next appointment.

Download tools to help you make the most of your doctor visits, including a Doctor Discussion Guide. GO

If You Think You Have This Condition

Talk With Your Doctor

talk with your doctor

If You Think You Have This Condition

Talk With Your Doctor

Are you experiencing any of those signs and symptoms?
If so, talk to your doctor about what may be causing your
symptoms. Start the conversation at your next appointment. Download Doctor Discussion Guide.

You may have to give blood and urine samples. Your doctor may also recommend a kidney biopsy for further examination.

Find more information about these tests below:

urine tests
Urine tests

can reveal high levels of protein in your urine. For an accurate test reading, you may be asked to collect urine samples over 24 hours.

blood tests
Blood tests

are used to check for low levels of protein in your blood, and your general health and well-being.

kidney sample testing
Kidney sample
testing

involves removing a very small piece of kidney tissue for lab analysis (biopsy).

There are a number of tests that your doctor may order for you. You can learn more about them here.

Be sure to review your lab results with your doctor, and ask about your treatment options if necessary.

Treating Proteinuria in Nephrotic Syndrome Today

treating condition today

If your lab results show high protein levels in your urine, your doctor will talk with you about treatment options that may help to manage it.

Learn about how proteinuria may be treated.

Knowledge is power

Knowledge is power

That’s why it’s important to stay informed about your condition and partner with your doctor or nurse. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re confused or concerned about something.

Along with working with your healthcare provider, there are other ways you can help yourself stay informed and up-to-date about your condition.

Mallinckrodt intends this website to be informative, but you should remember the contents are general in nature and not meant to substitute for specific advice from healthcare professionals that may be necessary based on your individual questions and needs. We have made reasonable efforts to provide helpful and accurate information, however we make no guarantees and you should not solely rely on the information included here.