What Are Nephrotic Syndrome & Nephropathy?

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  • 0:00 Combining Forms for Kidneys
  • 0:34 Nephropathy,…
  • 1:02 Nephrotic Syndrome
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will succinctly define several terms related to the kidneys: nephropathy, nephrosis and nephritis. It will also look at nephrotic syndrome and key terms like hyperproteinuria, edema, and hypoproteinemia.

Combining Forms for Kidneys

In the English language, there are a lot of examples of similar terms representing the same thing, like mobile phone or cell phone, elevator and lift, apartment and flat, and so forth. They're different words, but they refer to the same thing.

In a similar light, there are two main combining forms that represent the kidneys when making medical terms out of them. One is 'ren/o-,' as in renal, and the other is 'nephro-.' This lesson is full of kidney-related terms that begin with 'nephro-.'

Nephropathy, Nephrosis, Nephritis

Any disease of the kidneys is called nephropathy. This terms comes from 'nephro-,' which means 'kidney,' and '-pathy,' which means 'disease.' And any degenerative kidney disease without inflammation is known as nephrosis, with '-osis' a term for 'condition or disease.' While inflammation of the kidneys is called nephritis, with '-itis' representing 'inflammation.'

Nephrotic Syndrome

Nephrosis is a word that is commonly used as a synonym for nephrotic syndrome, which can be simplified to the following definition: a condition that results in abnormally high levels of protein in the urine and abnormally low levels of protein in the blood. The suffix '-tic' means 'pertaining to.'

This syndrome is characterized by hypoproteinemia, abnormally low levels of protein in the blood. 'Hypo-' means 'abnormally low,' and '-emia' means 'blood or blood condition.' This occurs as a result of proteinuria, or abnormally high levels of protein in the urine, where '-uria' refers to 'urine.'

Basically, the body is urinating protein out of the body, thereby depleting the blood of protein faster than it can be replaced. This leads to another problem called edema, excessive amounts of fluid in the body's tissues.

This is because many proteins in blood act like a sponge to keep fluid in the blood vessels. If we urinate out all of the blood sponges, the water simply leaks out of the blood vessels and into the tissue spaces instead.

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