Minimal Change Disease

The majority of the diagnosis is made in children under the age of 10.  Most of the rest are in adults.  This is an extremely rare disease in teenagers.  Symptoms include foamy urine (the bubbles do not readily pop), swelling (facial, including forehead; legs; feet; abdomen), blurred vision, overwhelming fatigue, high blood pressure, blood clots.  Labs will have protein in the urine, low blood protein, low blood vitamins, high cholesterol.

Minimal Change Disease cause is mostly unknown. 

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Minimal Change Disease is a kidney disease.  It is the most common cause of Nephrotic Syndrome in the world.  This disease causes large amounts of protein to be lost into the urine. 

Kidneys filter blood to produce urine.  In the filtering process, proteins are normally kept in the body.  However, in Minimal Change Disease (MCD), proteins pass into the urine. This is call Proteinuria.   The loss of proteins can be life threatening if left untreated.

The name "Minimal Change Disease" comes from the fact that the kidney looked unchanged when biopsied.  However, when viewed with the electron microscope, the Podocytes of the kidney have actually undergone a significant change.  Normally, they have a very irregular shape, but with MCD the podocytes almost look like they melt together having the appearance of flattening out.  It is this change that prevents they kidney from being able to hold proteins in the body.

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