nephrotic syndrome diet

Diet for Nephritis (Kidney Inflammation)

Nephrotic syndrome diet – Diet guidelines for nephritis patients.

Nephritis, also known as acute nephrotic syndrome, refers to inflammation of one or both kidneys. It can be caused by infection, but it’s most commonly caused by autoimmune disorders that affect the major organs.

For example, those with lupus are at a much higher risk for developing nephritis. In rare cases, nephritis can be genetically inherited, though it may not be present in childhood.

Nephritis is a serious medical condition which is the ninth highest cause of human death. As the kidney inflame, they begin to excrete needed protein from the body into the urine stream. This condition is called proteinuria. Loss of necessary protein due to nephritis can result in several life-threatening symptoms. Most dangerous in cases of nephritis is the loss of protein that keeps blood from clotting. This can result in blood clots causing a sudden stroke.


Nephritis causes additional problems like water retention, as the kidneys cannot function properly to rid the body of water. Water retention or oedema can further cause swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, and hands. This secondary symptom is usually treated with diuretics like Lasix(R), generic name furosemide, which can help to reduce oedema and pain associated with swelling.

Primarily, nephritis tends to be treated with antibiotics and also occasionally with steroids, particularly in those cases thought to be caused by lupus. Nephritis is incurable when associated with lupus, but it can go into remission. Roughly half the cases associated with lupus, and with the inherited form of nephritis go into remission.

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nephrotic syndrome diet

Symptoms of nephritis

Symptoms of nephritis include:

  • Swelling of the tissues (initially the face around the eyes, later more prominent in the legs
  • Reduction in urine volume
  • Dark urine (contains blood which may be visible)
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Tiredness and general malaise (feeling ill)
  • Nausea

In rapidly progressive disease, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain and joint pain may occur.

Chronic nephritis may go unnoticed for years until symptoms of kidney failure appear: itchy skin, tiredness, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath.

About half of those who develop acute nephritis actually have no symptoms. If symptoms do develop, they point clearly to the problem

Causes of nephritis

The causes of nephritis (or acute nephrotic syndrome as the collection of symptoms is sometimes called), tend to be different in adults and children.

One of the commonest, especially in children, is after infection with the streptococcus bacteria, which leads to an immune reaction that damages the filtering units of the kidney known as the glomeruli. This condition is called post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.

Other causes seen more frequently in children than adults include Henoch-Schonlein purpura (an inflammation of the blood vessels is caused by an abnormal immune response) and haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (an abnormal immune reaction which triggers including gastrointestinal infection).

In adults, diseases that frequently underlie nephritis include vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), pneumonia, abscesses, infections such as measles, mumps or glandular fever, hepatitis, and a range of different immune disorders that cause types of glomerulonephritis.

In more serious, rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, about half of people remember having had a flu-like illness in the month before symptoms start.

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nephrotic syndrome diet

Nephrotic syndrome diet

A healthy diet for nephritis consists of low salt, low fat and low cholesterol, with emphasis on fruits and vegetables. These include:

  • Low sodium (salt)
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables; fibre such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help lower total and LDL cholesterol
  • Low fat (1% of skim) dairy products
  • Lean cuts of meat, less red meat, more fish and chicken
  • Sometimes fluids should be restricted, as determined by a nephrologist
  • Sometimes protein levels should be increased or decreased, as determined by a nephrologist
  • Rarely should potassium or phosphorus be restricted, only if kidneys are failing and as determined by a nephrologist

While these healthy diet tips help get you better, it doesn’t stop the need to see your doctor or healthcare provider.

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