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Kidney disease that devastated rugby star's life

Jonah Lomu suffered from a rare kidney condition which cut short his career, and ultimately his life.

The All Blacks winger was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome in 1996 and later had a kidney transplant in 2004 before it failed in 2011.

But what is nephrotic syndrome and how can it be treated?

:: Nephrotic syndrome causes a person's kidneys to malfunction, leading to large amounts of protein to leak into their urine, according to NHS Choices.

:: The symptoms include swelling around the eyes and lower legs, infections caused by the loss of antibodies and serious blood clots.

:: The syndrome is brought on by what doctors call "minimal change disease" as kidney tissue appears nearly normal under a microscope. But the syndrome can also be inherited as a faulty gene or occur as the result of other kidney conditions, diabetes or some cancers.

:: It can affect people at any age but is commonly seen in young children, particularly boys. It is uncommon and NHS Choices estimates one child in 50,000 is diagnosed each year. It also tends to be more common in those with an Asian background or history of allergies but it is unclear why.

:: It can be treated with steroids, diuretics - or water tablets - and penicillin but in severe cases doctors recommend removal of one or both kidneys and put a patient on dialysis until a donor can be found for a transplant.


From Belfast Telegraph