This article provides a very brief overview of nephrotic and nephritic syndrome, to help you differentiate between them.
Nephrotic syndrome is a condition involving the loss of significant volumes of protein via the kidneys (proteinuria) which results in hypoalbuminaemia. The definition of nephroticsyndrome includes both massive proteinuria (≥3.5 g/day) and hypoalbuminaemia (serum albumin ≤30 g/L). 1
As a result of hypoalbuminaemia, nephrotic syndrome is associated with oedema (due to reduced oncotic pressure), hyperlipidaemia and hypercoagulability.
Peripheral oedema (more common in adults)
Facial oedema (more common in children)
Frothiness of urine
Recurrent infections (due to immune dysfunction)
Venous or arterial thrombosis (e.g. myocardial infarction, deep vein thrombosis) due to hypercoagulability
Oedema (e.g. peri-orbital, lower limb, ascites)
Xanthelasma and/or xanthoma
Shortness of breath (with associated chest signs of pleural effusion – e.g. stony dullness in lung bases)
Proteinuria (protein ++++)
Nephritic syndrome is a condition involving haematuria, mild to moderate proteinuria (typically less than 3.5g/L/day), hypertension, oliguria and red cell casts in the urine.
Haematuria (can be frank haematuria or microscopic)
Oedema (to a lesser extent compared to nephrotic syndrome)