In the early stages, you may have no symptoms of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). As the disease progresses, signs of nephrotic syndrome will appear. Nephrotic syndrome is a disease that causes your body to excrete too much protein in the urine. Signs of this disease include a foamy appearance to your urine, high blood pressure and swelling in your face, hands or legs. Primary FSGS that is unresponsive to treatment will often progress over time to end-stage kidney disease. When your kidneys fail, you will die without either dialysis or a kidney transplant.
There are a number of types of FSGS:
- Primary FSGS. A significant number of people diagnosed with FSGS have no known cause for their condition. This is called primary (idiopathic) FSGS.
- Secondary FSGS. This condition is brought on by factors such as obesity, the use of anabolic steroids or other types of kidney diseases. Controlling the primary cause often improves kidney function.
- Genetic (familial) FSGS. This rare form of FSGS is caused by genetic mutations. It is suspected when several members of a family show signs of FSGS. Familial FSGS can also occur when neither parent has the disease, but each carries one copy of an abnormal gene that can be passed on to the next generation. Therefore, the absence of disease in other family members does not exclude the possibility that the disease may be inherited.
Read more about nephrotic syndrome.