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What Happens To Untreated Nephrotic Syndrome & When To Go To A Doctor?

Nephrotic syndrome is a condition related to the kidney. The kidney, when suffering from this condition is not able to perform the physiological function. If left untreated, various complications may occur. Various symptoms are experienced by the patient with nephrotic syndrome. In such a case, the patient should immediately take an appointment with a healthcare provider.

What Happens To Untreated Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic syndrome is a progressive disease and if left untreated may result in Chronic Kidney Disease and End-Stage Renal disease. Other complications related to the untreated and unmanaged nephrotic syndrome are:

Infections: Patients with nephrotic syndrome have more chances for infection. The chance of infection in nephrotic syndrome has decreased in advanced countries. It is a major problem for developing countries. Children that have nephrotic syndrome, streptococcus pneumonia is a most important organism in primary peritonitis.

Anemia: Anemia occurs because of the blood loss in urine. Anemia caused in the children with the renal syndrome usually called microcytic and hypo microcytic anemia.

Cardiovascular Complications: Hyperlipidemia increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in children with nephrotic syndrome and also increase the risk of atherosclerosis because of hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia contributes to the risk of glomerular and renal disease.

Hypovolemic Condition: The risk factor of hypovolemic crisis is increased because of decreased level of albumin, high dose of diuretic, and vomiting. It affects the urinary sodium excretion or fractional excretion of sodium.

Acute Renal Failure: In some conditions, nephrotic syndrome progresses into acute renal failure. This is because of the leakage of fluid from the vessels to the surrounding tissues leading to reduced pressure in the kidney for filtration.

Thromboembolism: Nephrotic syndrome is a risk factor for arterial and venous thromboembolism. Thrombosis may cause because of the loss of proteins involved in the inhibition of systemic hemostatic mechanism. The arterial punctures should be avoided in children with nephrotic syndrome because that increases the risk of arterial thrombosis.

Edema: Edema is caused by a low level of protein, especially albumin and decrease in osmotic pressure. Edema stimulates sodium water retention in the kidney.

Change in level of hormones and minerals: As the hormonal binding proteins are lost in urine of the patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome, there is an alteration of the hormonal level. Further patient with the nephrotic syndrome also suffers from a reduced level of minerals and may have conditions such as hypocalcemia.(1)

When To Go To A Doctor For Nephrotic Syndrome?

Various symptoms occur in nephrotic syndrome such as:

Proteinuria: a Large amount of protein is present in the urine. In this condition, the kidney does not filter the waste fluid properly.(1)

Hypoalbuminemia: Hypoalbuminemia means low albumin level in blood and more often seen in elderly patients.

Edema: Edema occurs when too many fluids get accumulated in the body which may be caused due to heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, venous insufficiency, and from kidney disease.

Hyperlipidemia: It is caused by two factors;

When protein synthesis is stimulated in the kidney and production of lipoproteins is increased.

When lipoprotein lipase level is low then the lipid catabolism is also decreased, and there is a breakdown of those enzymes that are involved in the lipoprotein formation.

The patient should take an appointment with the doctor if he experiences:

  • Frothy urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Puffiness on the face or at any other organ
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling on legs, abdomen or arms.
  • Changes in the urine volume or frequency.

Your symptoms are not improving or worsening even after taking the prescribed medications.


If nephrotic syndrome is left untreated it may result in cardiovascular complications, increases risk of infection, edema, anemia, and chronic fatigue. The patient should visit the doctor if a change in urine frequency and volume, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, and swelling is experienced.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 3, 2019

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