Glomerulonephritis is a condition that involves damage to the glomeruli. The glomeruli are small structures in the kidneys filter the blood.
bodies of the kidney bean-shaped in the back just below the ribs. Each kidney is about the size of a fist. The kidneys filter blood, catch and substances necessary to re-enter the market and the elimination of waste in the urine. If the kidneys do not filter properly, wastes build in the blood.
- Acute glomerulonephritis begins suddenly.
- Chronic glomerulonephritis develops gradually over several years.
In some cases, glomerulonephritis leads to kidney failure. Renal failure is a serious disease of the kidneys, which must be treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Causes of glomerulonephritis include:
- Streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) or skin (impetigo).
- Hereditary diseases
- Immune diseases like lupus
- Diabetes type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
- Viruses (HIV, hepatitis B and C)
- Endocarditis (infection of heart valves)
A risk factor is something that increases the chances of the disease or condition. Risk factors for glomerulonephritis include:
- Family history of glomerulonephritis
- The presence of a known cause of nephritis
Glomerulonephritis often causes no symptoms, and detected during a routine urine test. Where appropriate, signs of acute glomerulonephritis and chronic are different. The symptoms of acute glomerulonephritis may include:
- Blood in the urine (red, brown or tea-colored urine)
- Foamy appearance of urine
- Less frequent urination
- Swelling in the morning, especially in the face, feet, hands and stomach
- Dry skin, itching
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle cramps in the night
- Swelling of the face, feet, hands or abdomen
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical examination. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in kidney disease for diagnosis and treatment (nephrologist).
- Urine tests to look for blood, protein, bacteria and other evidence of kidney damage in urine
- Blood tests, tests to verify the proper functioning of the kidneys and to look for the disease, which can cause glomerulonephritis
- Ultrasound, a test that uses sound waves to create images of the kidney
- A CT scan of the abdominal cavity, a type of x-ray test that uses a computer to create detailed images of structures inside the abdomen, including kidneys
- Renal biopsy, needle sample of kidney tissue to test for glomerulonephritis
Treatment depends on the cause of glomerulonephritis. For example, control of blood pressure and levels of blood sugar with drugs will be important in the treatment of glomerulonephritis associated with hypertension and diabetes. In addition, the following measures can be taken for assistance or further reduce kidney damage:
- Diuretics to reduce fluid retention
- Drugs that inhibit the immune system
- Limit your intake of salt and water.
- Reduce consumption of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
- Reduce the amount of protein in the diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Take calcium supplements.
If the kidneys are not able to remove enough waste in the blood, dialysis may be necessary. Temporary dialysis may be sufficient for acute glomerulonephritis. If it leads to permanent kidney failure, chronic glomerulonephritis requires a long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant.
The following steps can reduce the risk of inflammation of the kidneys:
- Consult a doctor immediately if you have a sore throat, which can be caused by STREP.
- To reduce the risk of viral infections, including HIV, safe sex and avoiding intravenous drug.
- If you have diabetes or hypertension, your doctor about managing these conditions.