Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) involves scars on some of your kidneys’ filters. The scarring makes it hard for your kidneys to filter out wastes from your body and can lead to kidney failure. The cause of FSGS is unknown. In some cases, certain events or illnesses are thought to cause FSGS, including birth defects, urine backup, obesity, sickle cell anemia, and certain viruses. The only way to know for sure whether you have FSGS is to get a kidney biopsy.

There are no medicines made to treat FSGS. To keep the disease from getting worse, doctors may recommend medicines called ACE-inhibitors or ARBs to lower protein in your urine, or medicines like steroids to weaken your immune system. Even when treated, most people with FSGS will eventually develop kidney failure and will need to start dialysis or have a kidney transplant to live.

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