Possible complications of nephrotic syndrome include:

  • Blood clots. The inability of the glomeruli to filter blood properly can lead to loss of blood proteins that help prevent clotting. This increases your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombus) in your veins.
  • High blood cholesterol and elevated blood triglycerides. When the level of the protein albumin in your blood falls, your liver makes more albumin. At the same time, your liver releases more cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Poor nutrition. Loss of too much blood protein can result in malnutrition. This can lead to weight loss, but it may be masked by swelling.
  • High blood pressure. Damage to your glomeruli and the resulting buildup of wastes in your bloodstream (uremia) can raise your blood pressure.
  • Acute kidney failure. If your kidneys lose their ability to filter blood due to damage to the glomeruli, waste products may build up quickly in your blood. If this happens, you may need emergency dialysis — an artificial means of removing extra fluids and waste from your blood — typically with an artificial kidney machine (dialyzer).
  • Chronic kidney failure. Nephrotic syndrome may cause your kidneys to gradually lose their function over time. If kidney function falls low enough, you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Infections. People with nephrotic syndrome have an increased risk of infections.
Jan. 11, 2012