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Nephrotic syndrome is a serious condition that affects kidney function. Its effects can be debilitating.

Nephrotic syndrome often results from another underlying condition that damages the kidneys. With the treatment of the underlying condition, nephrotic syndrome may resolve. However, it can cause dangerous complications, including chronic kidney disease.

Causes of nephrotic syndrome

According to the Mayo Clinic, the kidneys contain clusters of tiny blood vessels called glomeruli. The purpose of the glomeruli is to filter the blood that passes through the kidneys, releasing waste products while retaining materials that the body needs.

Damage to the glomeruli can cause them to release necessary proteins, allowing them to seep out from the blood into the urine where it will eventually pass out of the body. The loss of proteins such as albumin prevents the body from regulating its fluids. The damage can result from certain infections or underlying medical conditions. Medications can cause it as a side effect.

Symptoms of nephrotic syndrome

The loss of protein from nephrotic syndrome can cause fluids to build up in the body tissue, resulting in severe swelling known as anasarca. The fluid retention results in weight gain. The patient may also experience fatigue and loss of appetite. Excess protein in the urine causes it to become foamy.

Criteria for evaluation

According to the Social Security Administration, to qualify for Social Security Disability for nephrotic syndrome, the patient has to meet two criteria. Despite measures to treat it, anasarca must persist for at least 90 days. The patient must also have lab tests demonstrating increased protein in the urine or decreased protein in the blood on at least two occasions occurring at a 90-day interval. The interval can be greater than 90 days, but the testing must take place within a 12-month period.