10 Symptoms of membranous nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

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10 Symptoms of membranous nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

Membranous nephropathy is a kidney disorder that affects the glomeruli, which are the tiny filters in the kidneys that help remove waste products from the blood. This condition is characterized by inflammation and thickening of the glomeruli’s filtering membranes, leading to proteinuria (excess protein in the urine) and impaired kidney function. While some people with membranous nephropathy may not experience any symptoms, others may develop a range of signs and symptoms that indicate kidney dysfunction.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of membranous nephropathy early on, as early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and slow down the progression of kidney damage. In this article, we will discuss the common symptoms of membranous nephropathy and how it can be managed.

1. Proteinuria

One of the hallmark symptoms of membranous nephropathy is proteinuria, which is the presence of excessive protein in the urine. Normally, the kidneys filter out waste products and toxins from the blood while keeping essential proteins, such as albumin, in the bloodstream. However, in membranous nephropathy, the damaged glomerular membranes allow large amounts of protein to leak into the urine, leading to proteinuria. This can cause frothy or foamy urine and may be accompanied by swelling in the legs and around the eyes due to fluid retention.

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If you notice frothy urine or experience unexplained swelling, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and testing to determine the underlying cause of proteinuria.

2. Edema

Edema, or swelling, is a common symptom of membranous nephropathy and occurs due to the build-up of excess fluids in the body. This can cause swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and around the eyes. The presence of edema is often a result of the loss of proteins, such as albumin, in the urine, which can lead to a decrease in the blood’s oncotic pressure and an increase in fluid leakage from the blood vessels into the surrounding tissues.

If you experience persistent or severe edema, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as proteinuria or decreased urine output, it’s important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

3. Hypertension

Membranous nephropathy can also lead to hypertension or high blood pressure, which occurs as a result of impaired kidney function and the activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating blood pressure by managing the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, it can lead to an increase in blood pressure, which can further exacerbate kidney damage and increase the risk of cardiovascular complications.

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If you have been diagnosed with membranous nephropathy, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure regularly and work with your healthcare provider to manage and control your blood pressure through lifestyle modifications and/or medication.

4. Fatigue

Many individuals with membranous nephropathy report experiencing fatigue, which can be attributed to anemia (a low red blood cell count) and the accumulation of toxins and waste products in the body due to impaired kidney function. Anemia can develop as a result of reduced production of erythropoietin, a hormone produced by the kidneys that stimulates red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Additionally, the build-up of waste products in the bloodstream can lead to feelings of weakness, lethargy, and overall fatigue.

If you are experiencing persistent fatigue and have been diagnosed with membranous nephropathy, it’s important to discuss this symptom with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop a plan to manage fatigue effectively.

5. Decreased Urine Output

In some cases, membranous nephropathy can lead to a decrease in urine output, a condition known as oliguria. This can occur as a result of reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and impaired kidney function, leading to the retention of waste products and fluids in the body. Oliguria can be a sign of advanced kidney damage and should be addressed promptly to prevent further complications.

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If you notice a significant decrease in urine output or experience difficulty urinating, it’s important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment to support kidney function.