Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis

Posted Thursday, April 13, 2017

Did You Know? Kidney disease cannot be reversed

Each Kidney Consists of 1 Million to 2 Million Nephrons 

Malfunctioning Kidneys can Lead to the Development of Anemia

The kidneys carry out critical functions for the body and it important to properly diagnosis and treat any conditions involving the kidneys, quickly. Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a rare but serious condition which is a leading cause of Nephrotic Syndrome. 

Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of FSGS cause, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.  


Focal Segmental glomerulosclerosis is a type of glomerular disease and describes scarring (sclerosis) in the kidney(s). FSGS is not caused by a single disease. It can have many different causes. The scarring may happen because of an infection, or drug, or a disease that affects the entire body, like diabetes, HIV infection, sickle cell disease or lupus. FSGS can also be caused by another glomerular disease that was contracted before FSGS. There are different types of FSGS based on the cause:

  • Primary FSGS: This type of FSGS means that the disease happened on its own without a known or obvious cause.
  • Secondary FSGS: This type is caused by another disease or a drug. Examples include: viruses such as HIV or drugs such as anabolic steroids that some people use to speed up their muscle growth (these are different than steroids your doctor gives you for treatment).


In early stages of the disease there could easily be no symptoms. Over time and as the disease progresses the following symptoms may occur:

  • Foamy urine (from excess protein in the urine)
  • Poor appetite
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, legs, abdomen and around the eyes
  • Pain from swelling
  • Weight gain


Several tests are necessary to clearly determine if you have FSGS:

  • Urine test: A urine test will help find protein and blood in the urine.
  • Blood test: A blood test will help find levels of protein, cholesterol, and wastes in the blood.
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR): A blood test will be done to know how well the kidneys are filtering bodily wastes.
  • Kidney biopsy:  In this test, a tiny piece of the kidney is removed with a special needle, and examined under a microscope.
  • Genetic testing: A genetic test may be done to determine if genetics are the cause of the kidney disease.


Depending on the causes of your FSGS, treatment options will vary that will work best. Below are several available options:

  • Corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs
  • ACE inhibitors and ARBs
  • Diuretics
  • Diet changes

 For more information on FSGS and other nephrotic conditions, please visit:   

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