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Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a rare condition that mostly affects children under the age of 10. It is often characterized by:
Most cases of HUS occur after an infection in the digestive tract caused by the E. coli bacterium. Diarrhea and upper respiratory infections are the most common precipitating factors in contracting HUS. HUS is less common in adults, but may occur more often in pregnant women, women who have been taking oral contraceptives, are postpartum or having obstetric complications. E. coli may be found in contaminated food, such as dairy products and meat.
The first stage of HUS frequently lasts from 1 to 15 days and may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as:
Severe problems in the bowel and colon may develop in some cases. In these cases, even if the gastroenteritis has stopped, a child may still exhibit the following symptoms:
The child may produce little urine because damaged red blood cells and other factors may clog the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys or cause lesions in the kidneys, making the kidneys work harder to remove wastes and extra fluid from the blood.
The body's inability to rid itself of excess fluid and waste may, in turn, cause:
The symptoms of HUS may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a physician for diagnosis.
There is no known treatment that can stop the progress of the syndrome once it has started.
A treatment regimen will be established by your physician based on your individual condition. Most treatments are aimed at easing the immediate symptoms and signs of this disease and at preventing further complications. This may include any/all of the following: