Who is most at risk for developing this disease?
LEONARD STERN, MD: It largely affects males, and affects African Americans more than white Americans. It has some association with illicit drug use and HIV and AIDS, and also it is associated with obesity, urinary tract infections and mechanical reflux of urine from the bladder into the uterus.
Is there a suspected relationship between FSGS and autoimmune disorders?
JAI RADHAKRISHNAN, MD: The word "autoimmune" means that the body produces immunity against itself, and in doing so it damages organs. There's data published in both France and the United States that suggests that in FSGS, a protein or substance in the blood goes and destroys the filters of the kidney, causing it to become more leaky, and it's not yet known what this protein is.
How is FSGS discovered?
JAI RADHAKRISHNAN, MD: FSGS is often first identified by detecting protein in the urine. Equally common is the patient who presents with body swelling because of salt and water retention. Patients are also diagnosed with high blood pressure, and not uncommonly, FSGS can progress without any symptoms, causing kidney failure.
LEONARD STERN, MD: Definitive diagnosis comes from a kidney biopsy where ultrasound is used to find the kidney and do a needle biopsy.
How is FSGS treated?
LEONARD STERN, MD: It's very difficult to treat a patient with kidney disease without actually knowing the type of disease, because we treat them with different medications.