Many diseases and conditions can cause glomerular damage and lead to nephrotic syndrome, including: Diabetic kidney disease. Diabetes can lead to kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) that affects the glomeruli. Minimal change disease. This is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in children. Minimal change disease results in abnormal kidney function, but when the kidney tissue is examined under a microscope, it appears normal or nearly normal. The cause of the abnormal function typically can't be determined. Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Characterized by scarring of some of the glomeruli, this condition can result from another disease, a genetic defect or certain medications or occur for no known reason. Membranous nephropathy. This kidney disorder is the result of thickening membranes within the glomeruli. The thickening is due to deposits made by the immune system. It can be associated with other medical conditions, such as lupus, hepatitis B, malaria and cancer, or it can occur for no known reason. Systemic lupus erythematosus. This chronic inflammatory disease can lead to serious kidney damage. Amyloidosis. This disorder occurs when amyloid proteins accumulate in your organs. Amyloid buildup often damages the kidneys' filtering system.