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Minimal Change Disease

Minimal Change Disease is also called:

  • Minimal Change GN
  • Minimal Change Glomerulonephritis
  • Minimal Lesion Glomerulonephritis
  • Nil Disease (aka Lipoid Nephrosis)
  • Minimal Change Glomerular Disease
  • Idiopathic nephrotic syndrome of childhood
  • Minimal GN

Minimal Change Disease, aka Minimal Change GN is a disease of the kidney that is most commonly found in children, although 20% of cases of this condition are found in Adults.

In this form of Glomerulonephritis, there is damage to the tiny blood-filtering units, called glomeruli, which are inside the nephron (the functional unit of the kidney that is responsible for purification and filtration of the blood). Minimal Change Disease gets its name since the damage isn't visible under a regular microscope and can only be identified under an electron microscope.

Some of the common conditions associated with Minimal Change GN is proteinuria, increased risk of infections like urinary tract infections and nephrotic syndrome.

Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is a general term that refers to conditions of edema or oedema (water retention) and proteinuria which occurs when protein leaks from the blood into the urine. NS and this form of kidney disease can be caused by Minimal Change Disease.

Symptoms of Minimal Change Disease are often similar to Nephrotic Syndrome and can include increased levels of protein in urine (proteinuria), foamy urine appearance, swelling around the eyes, abdomen, feet and ankles (edema), and weight gain due to fluid retention.

While the Cause of Minimal Change Disease is unknown according to western medicine, they are theories that the disease may occur after:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Viral infection
  • Recent immunizations

Minimal change disease is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in children.

Treatment in Western Medicine generally consists of the use of steroids for Minimal Change Disease. If steroids are unsuccessful at treating this condition, cytotoxic agents are used.  Since both of the aforementioned drugs can contain potentially harmful side effects, patient/doctor communication about these drugs side effects is important whenever considering these medications.


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