In addition to a medical history and physical exam, other tests to diagnose nephrotic syndrome include:
- A 24-hour urine collection, which measures the total amount of protein in the urine collected over 24 hours. You will be diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome if you have more than 3 grams of protein in your urine.
- Blood test for albumin. Lower levels of albumin in the blood can cause fluid to collect in the ankles, lungs or abdomen.
- Creatinine and creatinine clearance. Results of these tests give information on how well your kidneys are working.
- Blood profile tests to measure the amount of protein, cholesterol and sugar (glucose) in the blood.
- Kidney ultrasound to look at the kidneys. This exam can rule out other causes of your symptoms.
You may need other tests before treatment for nephrotic syndrome begins. These include:
- A test for varicella (chickenpox) antibodies.
- A bone density scan.
In adults, testing usually includes:
- Serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP).
- Antinuclear antibodies (ANA).
- Antibody tests for systemic lupus erythematosus.
- C3 and C4 complement, proteins normally found in the blood.
- Tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.
Unless nephrotic syndrome is clearly caused by diabetes, a kidney biopsy is usually done to find the cause. Children do not usually have a biopsy.
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