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What is FSGS?

FSGS is the abbreviation of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) which refers to scar tissue that forms in parts of the kidney called glomeruli. FSGS is the leading cause of Nephrotic Syndrome in children and adolescents. Also, it is one of the common cause for adults to suffer from kidney failure. Similar with other kinds of Chronic Kidney Disease, FSGS progresses over time if left alone, so an effective treatment is very essential for FSGS patients to have a good prognosis and life expectancy.

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Tests and Diagnosis of FSGS

To have an acuate diagnosis of FSGS, the following tests are usually needed:

1. Kidney function testing:

Blood test and urine test are the basic two tests for measuring kidney function. With blood test, we can know clearly whether there are excess creatinine and blood urea nitrogen. High serum creatinine and high blood urea nitrogen level occurs when kidney function is impaired as kidneys are responsible for discharging excess creatinine and urea nitrogen. Therefore, by measuring serum creatinine level and blood urea nitrogen level, we can have a general understanding about kidney condition. Besides, through serum creatinine level, we can calculate GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) which refers to the filtration ability of kidney and it is another commonly used indicator of kidney function.

2. Kidney biopsy:

Kidney biopsy is the most accurate test to diagnose FSGS. Renal biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small kidney sample is removed from kidney for analysis. Through renal biopsy, we can know well that in what way patients’ kidneys are damaged. Kidney biopsy is helpful for diagnosing kidney disease, including FSGS, but usually it is not recommended when kidneys are damaged severely.

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What Causes FSGS?

Many conditions can cause FSGS and it is said Reflux Nephropathy is the leading one. Reflux Nephropathy is a condition in which kidneys are damaged from a backward influx of urine into the kidney. Some other possible causes of FSGS include HIV infection, obesity, sickle cell disease, birth defects of the kidneys, heroin or other drug use, genetic causes and so on.

In term of FSGS, Focal means only some of the glomeruli are involved, segmental implies only part of each glomerulus is involved and glomerulosclerosis refers to scarring of the glomerulus. Therefore, FSGS means some of the glomeruli are injured partially.

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What Are the Symptoms of FSGS?

Most of the times, FSGS presents as a Nephrotic Syndrome. For these patients, they will experience:

Foamy urine/bubbly urine: foamy urine means there are excess protein in urine.

Swelling/edema: edema occurs when excess fluid build up in the body.

Weight gain: weight gain always occurs as a consequence of fluid retention.

Hypoalbuminemia: hypoalbuminemia appears when large amounts of protein are lost from urine.

FSGS progresses as more and more kidney tissues are injured. When FSGS develops to a relatively severe stage or kidney failure stage, the following discomforts will appear gradually:

High blood pressure

Blood urine

Digestive discomforts: poor appetite, nausea and vomiting

Skin problems like dry skin, yellow skin and itchy skin

Bone discomforts like bone pain, bone fracture and osteoporosis

Tiredness/fatigue

Deep breath, shortness of breath

Bad taste in mouth

If FSGS can be controlled in early stage, many kidney failure symptoms can be avoided effectively. Therefore, a timely and effective treatment is of great importance for FSGS patients.

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How Is FSGS Treated?

FSGS is deadly in advanced stage, so for patients with mild FSGS, their treatment must be able to control their kidney problem in early stage. Only in this way, can kidney failure be avoided, and also can their life expectancy and life span be improved or increased effectively.

Conventional Treatment for FSGS:

In general, treatments include antibiotics to control infection, anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce immune response, hypotensive drugs for high blood pressure and dietary changes and so on. These medicines and diet chances are very beneficial for slowing down illness progression, but disappointedly, they can not solve problem radically, as these medicines are only focus on controlling symptoms.

Alternative Treatments for FSGS:

Medicines that can help FSGS patients control symptoms like high blood pressure, proteinuria and swelling are necessary. However, it is far from enough to stop FSGS progression simply by controlling its symptoms. To have a tight control of FSGS, the following treatments are available:

Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy: Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy is a herbal treatment that is created on the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Effective ingredients in this treatment show effects in repairing injured kidney intrinsic cells, so with this treatment, not only all the symptoms can be relieved effectively, impaired kidney function also can be improved.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy combines Chinese medicine and western medicine. We all know western medicine and Chinese medicine treats kidney disease differently and they show different effects. By combining the advantages of them, treatment effects can be improved greatly and FSGS can be controlled very well. What is more, no side effects are caused during the whole treatment effects.

Polluted Blood Therapy: Polluted blood therapy is suggested when FSGS develops to a relatively severe stage. This treatment treats damaged kidneys through treating polluted blood firstly. You can learn more about this therapy by clicking the link.

Dialysis and Kidney Transplant: When kidneys are completely failed due to FSGS, dialysis and kidney transplant will become the last two treatment opinions.

With different illness condition, FSGS patients need to choose different treatment methods. We offer online service, you can send your test report to us. Our Nephrologist will help you analyze and then suggest right treatment for you.

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What Is the Diet Plan for FSGS?

For FSGS patients, illness condition should be put into consideration while making diet changes. They may need to make different diet changes due to different illness condition, but they generally need to:

Adjust protein intake: Improper protein intake increases kidney burden and worsens illness condition, which is not beneficial for FSGS patients to bring their kidney problem under control. Therefore, adjusting protein intake is necessary. How much protein intake depends on the specific illness condition, so you can describe your illness condition to our online doctors and to get some suggestions.

Eat less salt: Salt is a common and basic seasoning in our daily life. It is rich in sodium, however for FSGS patients, they need to limit salt intake as eating too much salt not only elevates blood pressure, but also trigger or aggravate swelling.

Fluid intake: Limitation of fluid intake is necessary if there is fluid retention.

Adjust potassium intake: FSGS patients run a high risk for hyperkalemia, so staying far away from high potassium foods like banana, while beans, dark leafy greens, salmon, mushroom and avocados is very important, if lab test shows high potassium level in blood.

Ingest much more calcium and limit phosphorus intake when phosphorus level is elevated due to FSGS.

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