Membranous Nephropathy

1 What is Membranous Nephropathy?

Membranous nephropathy develops when the glomeruli or small blood vessels in the kidney that filter wastes from our blood gets thickened and inflamed.

The protein leaks from the damaged blood vessels into the urine but for many people symptoms and signs known as nephritic syndrome develops because of the loss of proteins.

You can have long-term kidney problem as the protein leakage increases and may lead to kidney failure which is fatal.

There is still no cure for membranous nephropathy but there are medications and treatments that your physician may prescribe.

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2 Symptoms

At first, you may not suspect the membranous nephropathy because it will develop moderately and the symptoms often begin slowly over time.

Your legs and ankles will be swollen and you will gain weight because of the excess fluid as you lose protein from your blood.

Others may have moderate symptoms and others will have severe symptoms up to the point that kidney disease or kidney failure may occur.

Some of the symptoms and signs of membranous nephropathy are:

  • weight gain,
  • swelling in the legs and ankles,
  • fatigue,
  • frothy urine,
  • hyperlipidemia which is the elevated fat levels in the blood,
  • poor appetite,
  • decrease protein level in the blood especially the protein albumin,
  • proteinuria which is the increased protein levels in the urine.

If you suspect that you have this disease of if you see that you have blood in your urine, go see a doctor.

3 Causes

The exact cause of membranous nephropathy is unknown.

The autoantibodies will attack your own tissues because your immune system will mistake it for foreign tissue and these autoantibodies can damage your kidney’s filtering systems or the glomeruli.

Other causes may include infection with hepatitis B or hepatitis C or syphilis, autoimmune disease such as lupus erythematosus.

There are treatments and medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and gold salts. Along with other kidney diseases such as glomerulonephritis and diabetic nephropathy may also occur with membranous nephropathy.

4 Making a Diagnosis

If you feel you have membranous nephropathy visit your physician to receive a diagnosis. The doctor may refer you to a nephrologist that specializes in kidney problems. Bring your friend or one of the members of your family.

You can write down the questions that you want to ask your doctor:

  • Do I have a problem with my kidney?
  • Is it fatal?
  • How badly will they be affected?
  • What are the causes of this disease?
  • What kind of laboratory tests and exams do I need?
  • What medication do you recommend?
  • What treatment do you suggest?
  • Do I have other options?
  • What will be the possible side effects of these treatments and medications?
  • Is it okay if I don’t use these treatments?
  • Is this long term?
  • Is this hereditary?
  • Will I need a kidney transplant?
  • Will it cure my disease or re-occur again?
  • What are the chances? 

Write down the answers to these questions so that you may not forget it.

The doctor may ask you these questions:

  • What are the signs and symptoms that you are experiencing?
  • For how long are you experiencing these said symptoms?
  • What difficulty are you experiencing right now?
  • What are the major stresses in your life?
  • Do you have a family member who has a kidney disease?
  • Do you have diabetes or high blood pressure? 

Make a list of all the vitamins, supplements, and medications that you are taking every day.

Your doctor may recommend some test like blood tests or creatinine blood tests so the doctor may check your kidney function, urinalysis, Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) test and Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test, glycosylated hemoglobin tests and Fasting blood sugar, a CT scan or ultrasound and kidney biopsy to identify what type of kidney disease you have.

5 Treatment

Treatment of membranous nephropathy focuses on addressing the cause of your disease and relieving your symptoms.

There is no known cure for membranous nephropathy. There are only measures that need to be taken like controlling blood pressure with medicines.

The greater the protein level, the greater the risk to your body. Rituxan is effective in some people.

6 Prevention

There are no certain steps to prevent membranous nephropathy.

You may take the prevention steps for not having hepatitis B and C for it may cause membranous nephropathy.

Eat healthy and nutritious foods. Sleep well. Exercise daily.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Ask your doctor if any alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for membranous nephropathy.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with membranous nephropathy.

Find a support group in your area or talk to someone close to you.

Ask your physician how to reduce of developing kidney disease and he may prescribe medications and treatments and that you may have regular checkups.

Have a healthy diet and eat less salty foods and exercise regularly. Do not smoke or drink alcohol.

9 Risks and Complications

Some risks or complication of membranous nephropathy may include:

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