Difference Between Nephritic and Nephrotic Syndrome (With Table)

People often get confused between certain terms as they sound so similar and share almost the same meaning. When it comes to medical terms, one must be clear enough to differentiate between the two as they play a crucial role. Nephritic and nephrotic are two such terms that are primarily concerned with the kidney.

Nephritic vs Nephrotic Syndrome

The difference between nephritic and nephrotic syndrome is that nephritis affects the kidney in such a way that it causes swelling on the kidney, which in turn makes it difficult for the kidney to filter all the waste blood. On the other hand, nephrotic syndrome occurs because of a multiple-diseases due to which there will be leakage of protein when a person urinates.

Nephritic syndrome or nephritis is a type of disease that causes swelling in the kidney, which makes the kidney difficult to filter the waste from the blood. It is of two types, one is acute, and the other is chronic. The main reason for kidney failure is due to chronic nephritis. It happens over several years slowly.

Nephrotic syndrome or nephrosis is a type of disease that is caused by multiple types of diseases. This results in leakage of protein when someone urinates. One may identify themselves with nephrotic syndrome if there is a problem with their kidney and they are not functioning properly. The kidney is no longer able to prevent protein in the blood or remove fat from the blood.

Comparison Table Between Nephritic and Nephrotic Syndrome

Parameters of ComparisonNephriticNephrotic Syndrome
DetailsType of disease that affects the kidney.A disease that affects the kidney.
SymptomsFatigue, high blood pressure, anemia.Weight gaining, fatigue, loss of appetite, Protein leakage.
CausesCaused by infections and immune system disorder.Small blood vessel damage (in the kidney)
TypesAcute, Lupus, and chronic.Primary childhood, secondary childhood, and congenital nephrotic syndrome.
OthersInflammation in the kidney.Protein leakage in urine.

What is Nephritic?

Nephritis or nephritic syndrome is a type of disease that affects the kidney. When someone is diagnosed with nephritis, it means their kidney is facing trouble functioning properly and needs immediate medical attention. To simply put, if a person is diagnosed with nephritis, it means their kidney is unable to function properly and filter the waste from the blood. 

Speaking of age group, nephritis is not limited to only older aged people, but it can also occur in children. Thus, it comes for people of all ages. The symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include urinating less than usual, blood in urine, people also experience high blood pressure (varies from age to age), loss of appetite, fatigue, puffy outer appearance (also known as edema).

The nephritic syndrome is of two types, one is acute, and the other one is chronic. Chronic nephritis leads to kidney failure as it develops over several years, whereas acute nephritis occurs suddenly. The serum albumin is slightly reduced (or normal) in nephritic syndrome, and also the jugular venous pressure is raised in nephritis. To conclude, the nephritic syndrome affects the kidney in such a way that it causes swelling (inflammation) in the kidney, and immediate medical attention is needed.

What is Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic syndrome is a collection of disease that affects the kidney. The nephrotic syndrome is caused by multiple diseases and is not restricted to just one. To simply put, one is said to be affected with a nephrotic syndrome when there is a protein leakage while they urinate, and it also means the kidney finds it difficult to filter all the fat and cholesterol from a person’s blood and prevent the protein from leakage.

The symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include leakage of protein in the urine, red blood cell leakage in the urine, weight gain, fatigue, puffiness in outer appearance, lower intake than normal and foamy urine. Unlike nephritis, the blood pressure level is normal in nephrotic syndrome, the jugular venous pressure is also normal, but the serum albumin is low in nephrosis syndrome.

One can also be affected by nephrotic syndrome if the person has diabetes or lupus. There are very few chances of a person getting affected with nephrotic syndrome if he or she has a serious bacterial infection or acute renal failure. Both nephritis and nephrotic syndrome can be diagnosed during a medical check-up wherein a doctor identifies the nephrotic syndrome with the amount of protein present in one’s urine. A kidney biopsy is also taken to confirm the nephrotic syndrome.

Main Differences Between Nephritic and Nephrotic Syndrome

  1. Nephritic and nephrotic syndrome are both associated with the kidney but affect them in two different ways.
  2. The nephritic syndrome causes inflammation in the kidney (swelling in the kidney), whereas the nephrotic syndrome causes leakage of protein in the urine.
  3. The symptoms of nephritis include high blood pressure, fatigue, and protein leakage, whereas the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include weight gain, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
  4. Nephritis is of acute, lupus, and chronic types, whereas nephrotic syndrome is of primary and secondary childhood and congenital nephrotic syndrome.
  5. The red blood cell casts are absent in the nephrotic syndrome while it is present in the nephritis.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, both the nephritic and nephrotic syndrome suggests that there is a problem in one’s kidney (they are not functioning properly). Both nephritic and nephrotic syndrome have some unique differences that set them apart. Nephritic syndrome or nephritis causes inflammation or swelling in the kidney, whereas nephrotic syndrome fails to prevent the leakage of protein in the urine.

Nephritis is of two types, the acute and the chronic. Nephrotic syndrome also has three types. Protein leakage, fatigue, anemia, and high blood pressure are the symptoms of nephritis, whereas weight gain, loss of appetite, and fatigue are the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome. It is always advised that one must visit the doctor if there are even any one of symptoms.

References

  1. https://www.primarycare.theclinics.com/article/S0095-4543(20)30057-9/fulltext
  2. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199804233381707
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