This disease of the kidney generally affects preschool children.
SYMPTOMS: A typical case is of a child between 18 months and 5 years whose mother
finds that he has swelling of the face, which is more marked on waking up
in the morning. She then realises that he has not been his normal self lately and has been eating poorly. She
notices that the child is passing less urine and the swelling is increasing each day till
his whole body is swollen. The
doctor gets his urine and blood examined and finds large amounts of protein in the urine with corresponding decrease of
protein in the blood.
With treatment, almost all children with this disease improve dramatically. Unfortunately,
even with the best possible treatment, relapses are very common. Most
patients, however, do get cured after one or more attacks.
TREATMENT: Although we are
not sure of the cause of this disease, almost all children with nephrotic
syndrome are given corticosteroids with excellent response. New drugs
are also sometimes prescribed. If the swelling is marked,
drugs (diuretics) to increase the urine output may be needed.
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if he suspects
bacterial infection that children are often prone to.
Corticosteroids are not given to children with nephrotic syndrome whose
blood test for hepatitis B is positive.
In a child with nephrotic syndrome, an attack of any
viral infection can also lead to a temporary swelling of the
body. Your doctor may wait for some time before starting any medication.
A trace of protein in the urine in the absence of
swelling of the body can be ignored. It may be worth noting that strenuous exercise by young children can lead to a
temporary excess of protein secretion in urine.
11 February, 2013