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Who Is At Risk Of Nephrotic Syndrome & Is There A Blood Test For It?

Nephrotic syndrome may be caused due to various reasons. However, the most common cause is blood vessel damage. Various factors increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome. These include underlying disease, medications, and certain infections. A blood test may be used to determine nephrotic syndrome.

Who Is At Risk Of Nephrotic Syndrome?

There are some factors that can increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome:

Diseases That Can Damage The Kidney:

Some disease and medical condition increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome. Some of the diseases are:

Diabetes: High blood sugar level can damage the blood vessels of the kidney. When blood vessels are damaged then they do not work properly. Diabetic patients also have the problem of high blood pressure which can cause kidney disease.

Lupus Nephritis: Lupus nephritis cause swelling in small blood vessels of the kidney. For this reason, the kidney does not filter the waste properly and unable to control the amount of fluid in the body(1).

Certain Medications:

Kidney could be damaged when people take lots of medicine like aspirin, vancomycin, painkiller, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, aminoglycoside antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: NSAIDs can reduce the renal plasma flow by decreasing in prostaglandins and regulate the vasodilation on the filtration level and inhibit the prostaglandins. Inhibition of prostaglandins may cause deterioration of kidney function.

Vancomycin: Patients that have severe methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection are treated with the IV antibiotics. Vancomycin can cause kidney damage and also cause acute interstitial nephritis.

ACE Inhibitors: ACE inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. ACE inhibitors are metabolized in the liver but also have the risk of kidney damage.

Aminoglycoside Antibiotics: These cause a serious injury in the kidney at low doses. The most toxic aminoglycoside are neomycin, gentamicin, tobramycin, and streptomycin.

Certain Infections:

Infections may also increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome, for example, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and malaria.

  • HIV: It can attack the small blood vessels of the kidney and damage the renal function.
  • Malaria: Malaria cause renal failure by renal cortical vasoconstriction and sequestration.

Is There A Blood Test For It?

A blood test may also be used for evaluating the presence and extent of nephrotic syndrome. The blood test may show the level of protein albumin or level of blood protein in the body. Albumin protein regulates the osmotic pressure in the blood plasma for the prevention of water from leaking out of the blood vessels. The normal level of protein in blood is 6-8 gram per deciliter, and the albumin level is 3.5-5.0 gram per deciliter. When the level of albumin is decreased the blood cholesterol level and blood triglycerides level is increased. Serum and blood urea level are also determined by this test(3).

Many other test and techniques are available for the diagnosis of renal syndrome.

Urine Test: Urine test is used to detect the level of proteins in the body. Urine is collected for 24 hours for accurate measurement of protein.

Kidney Biopsy: In this testing procedure a small sample of kidney tissue is withdrawn from the body. For this procedure, a special needle is inserted in the kidney through the skin and the sample is collected. The collected sample is sent to the lab for testing. After this test, the patients need to lie down on their back for some hours and avoid the strenuous activity for the next 2 to 3 days.

Side effects of kidney biopsy:

  • Blood comes with the urine after the first 24 hours.
  • Increased body temperature
  • Redness, inflammation, and bleeding on the site of biopsy.
  • Feeling faint.
  • Rare chance of cancer.
  • Inability in urinating.
  • Increased pain at the site of biopsy(2).


Underlying disease, medications, and infections are the common cause of the nephrotic syndrome. Various blood tests are used to evaluate the kidney function in case of nephrotic syndrome. These tests include protein, especially albumin, and serum urea levels.


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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