Can Nephrotic Syndrome Cause Weight Gain & Why Do You Get Salt Restrictions In It?

Nephrotic syndrome refers to the collection of various symptoms caused mainly because of kidney damage. This includes the excretion of protein from the urine, low levels of albumin in the blood, high lipids in the blood and excessive swelling of body parts, also known as edema. Besides this, the syndrome has few other symptoms, which include a feeling of tiredness or fatigue, weight gain, and foamy urine. Patients with nephrotic syndrome often develop complications in the form of blood clots, high blood pressure or hypertension and infections. (2)

Can Nephrotic Syndrome Cause Weight Gain?

In some of the cases, patients with the nephrotic syndrome experience the problem of weight gain rapidly. The weight gain especially takes place in those patients, who have swelling or edema in their feet, ankles, and legs after standing or sitting for a long time. Besides this, nephrotic patients have swelling across their eyes while they wake up in the morning. Especially, edema in patients with nephrotic syndrome appears initially in legs and other lower body areas, along with the eyelids. However, during the advanced stage, it extends to the peritoneum and pleural cavities, while in some cases develops within a generalized type of anasarca. (1)

Why Salt Restrictions Are There In Nephrotic Syndrome Patients?

Patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome and overload of fluid require following a salt-restricted diet plan. Even though following a no-added salt or avoiding table salt is enough for a few of the patients, others have to limit their salt intake to up to 40mmol in one day. Reasons behind the restriction of salt in case of nephrotic syndrome patients are as follows-

Increases The Glomerular Capillary Pressure

High intake of salt or sodium increases the pressure of glomerular capillary tubes. In fact, intake of high dietary salt is harmful to various non-diabetic patients and with nephrotic syndrome, especially the ones suffering from chronic kidney problems. Along with food items containing sodium or salt in excessive amounts enhance the risk related to end-stage renal disease irrespective of whether you have control in your hypertension/blood pressure.

Aggravates The Problem Of Edema

Both water and sodium retention because of increased salt intake are responsible to aggravate the problem of edema and this may take place in different forms, which include the following-

  • Puffiness across the eyes, especially during the morning
  • Pitting edema on legs
  • The presence of fluid in the pleural cavities causes the problem of pleural effusion and is related closely with pulmonary edema.
  • Presence of fluid within the peritoneal cavity to cause ascites
  • The generalized form of edema in the entire body, known commonly as anasarca.

Hence, to avoid each of the aforementioned problems and in turn, to manage a few of the common symptoms related to nephrotic syndrome, doctors recommend limiting the salt intake. (3)

References-

  1. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/the-nephrotic-syndrome-beyond-the-basics
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephrotic_syndrome
  3. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/238158-treatment#d11

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