Nephrotic Syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is a group of symptoms including protein in the urine (more than 3.5 grams per day), low blood protein levels, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and swelling.

The disorder shows signs of kidney malfunction that include low level of protein and high level of cholesterol in the blood. In this condition the kidney is not able to filter excess water and wastes from the blood. As the kidneys are not able to work properly, large amounts of protein from the blood leak into the urine. As a result, urine sample of nephrotic syndrome patients have excessive protein, especially albumin.

This condition can occur as a result of infection, use of certain drugs, cancer, genetic disorders, immune disorders, or diseases that affect multiple body systems including diabetes.

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Swelling (edema) is the most common symptom. It may occur in the face, in the arms and legs especially in feet and ankles, and in the belly area. Other symptoms may include foamy appearance of the urine, weight gain (unintentional) from fluid retention, poor appetite and high blood pressure.

Dietary Management Of Nephrotic Syndrome

A change in the diet is the first step towards controlling this disease. This is one of the best possible treatments for nephrotic syndrome that can be easily implemented.

Nephrotic syndrome - diet management
  • The main aim of diet for nephrotic syndrome is to compensate for protein loss by taking adequate amounts of protein. However, excessive intake of protein should be avoided as the kidneys may need to function more vigorously to filter surplus protein. This can cause tubular damage to the kidneys. Moderate protein intake can definitely preserve renal functions.
  • Foods such as wheat, sprouts, legumes, eggs, lean meat, dry fish and pulses are a rich source of proteins and must be included in one’s daily diet.
  • Low fat diet should be consumed, as cholesterol levels are already high in these patients. One must stay away from saturated fats (margarine, cheese) and excess of oily foods.
  • Patients are often advised to restrict fluid intake. Fluid restriction can help to maintain fluid balance of the body. Fruits such as grapes, berries and watermelon can help to quench thirst. Any food that is liquid at room temperature is considered to be a fluid.
  • People with nephrotic syndrome should minimize the intake of milk, water, soda, juice and other beverages, ice cubes, ice cream, popsicles, gelatin, soups and puddings.
  • Ensure that sodium content in diet is minimum; otherwise it may cause fluid accumulation and lead to severe complications.

A diet that delivers normal amounts of protein, but is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, is indeed an effective therapy for nephrotic syndrome.

Also Read: Dietary Management of Kidney Disease



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