Jan 4, 2023
Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a disease in which scar tissue develops in the parts of the kidney that filter waste from the blood. These small parts are called the glomeruli. Diseases that cause damage to the kidneys filtering system are called glomerular diseases, and they have many causes. FSGS is a type of glomerular disease.
Each kidney has thousands of glomeruli, and “focal” means that only some of the glomeruli become scarred, while others remain normal. “Segmental” means that only part of an individual glomerulus is damaged, and “sclerosis” means scarring.
FSGS is a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure, (also called end stage renal disease, or end stage kidney disease). If that happens the person affected will need to receive a kidney transplant or begin dialysis treatments in order to sustain life.
Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis affects both children and adults. It affects men slightly more than women, and it occurs more frequently in African Americans.
FSGS is rare, with about 7 in every 1 million people diagnosed each year. Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis has many different causes, there is not one known cause. The scarring to the kidneys can happen due to a drug or an infection. It can also be caused by a disease that affects the whole body, such as diabetes, HIV, lupus, sickle cell disease, and by another glomerular disease. The following is a list of health problems that are thought to cause FSGS. Having one of these health problems does not mean you will develop FSGS. If you have any concerns about how your kidneys may be affected by an existing condition, please see your healthcare provider for further information on your particular circumstances.
There are different types of FSGS based upon what caused it. These are the types of FSGS:
You may not notice any symptoms, especially in the early stages of FSGS. As it progresses, you may notice the following symptoms:
Other symptoms can only be found by your healthcare provider through tests. Those symptoms include:
In order to know if you have FSGS you will need to have a kidney biopsy. A kidney biopsy is a procedure done with a special needle. The needle is used to take a very small piece of the kidney so that it can be examined under a microscope.
Your healthcare provider may also want to order the following tests:
Your healthcare provider will use all of the information from tests performed in order to plan a treatment that is best for you.
Treatment for FSGS depends on what type of FSGS you have, and what caused you to develop FSGS. Treatments for FSGS usually include the following:
Your treatment plan should also include healthy life changes. These could include your diet, switching to a kidney friendly diet to help keep you healthy, and increasing your activity level to 30 minutes daily, or most days. Stop any unhealthy habits you may have, such as smoking, any drugs, excessive alcohol use. Talk with your healthcare provider if you think you may need help in this area so that you may quit successfully.
Monica McCarthy has bachelors in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Central Washington University. A majority of her career was spent as a political consultant. She currently works at KidneyLuv as a staff writer.
This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional. KidneyLuv makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your physician or health care professional.