Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease in which the part of your kidneys that helps filter waste and fluids from the blood is damaged.
Glomerulonephritis – chronic; Chronic nephritis; Glomerular disease; Necrotizing glomerulonephritis; Glomerulonephritis – crescentic; Crescentic glomerulonephritis; Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis
Glomerulonephritis may be caused by problems with the body’s immune system. Often, the exact cause of glomerulonephritis is unknown.
Damage to the glomeruli causes blood and protein to be lost in the urine.
The condition may develop quickly, and kidney function is lost within weeks or months (called rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis).
A quarter of people with chronic glomerulonephritis have no history of kidney disease.
The following may increase your risk of this condition:
- Blood or lymphatic system disorders
- Exposure to hydrocarbon solvents
- History of cancer
- Infections such as
strep infections, viruses, heart infections, or abscesses
Many conditions cause or increase the risk for glomerulonephritis, including:
Anti-glomerular basement membrane antibody disease
- Blood vessel diseases, such as vasculitis or
polyarteritis Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis Goodpasture syndrome
- Heavy use of pain relievers, especially NSAIDs
Henoch-Schonlein purpura IgA nephropathy Lupus nephritis Membranoproliferative GN
Common symptoms of glomerulonephritis are:
Blood in the urine(dark, rust-colored, or brown urine)
- Foamy urine (due to excess protein in the urine)
- Swelling (edema) of the face, eyes, ankles, feet, legs, or abdomen
Symptoms may also include the following:
Abdominal pain Blood in the vomitor stools
- Cough and shortness of breath
General ill feeling, fatigue, and loss of appetite
- Joint or muscle aches
The symptoms of chronic kidney disease may develop over time.
Exams and Tests
Because symptoms may develop slowly, the disorder may be discovered when you have an abnormal
Signs of glomerulonephritis can include:
High blood pressure
Signs of reduced kidney function
Later, signs of chronic kidney disease may be seen, including:
Nerve inflammation (polyneuropathy)
Signs of fluid overload, including abnormal heart and lung sounds
Imaging tests that may be done include:
Abdominal CT scan
- Intravenous pyelogram (
Urinalysis and other urine tests include:
- Examination of the urine under a microscope
- Urine for
total protein Uric acid in the urine Urine concentration test Urine creatinine Urine protein Urine RBC Urine specific gravity Urine osmolality
This disease may also cause abnormal results on the following blood tests:
Albumin Anti-glomerular basement membraneantibody test
- Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs)
- Anti-nuclear antibodies
BUNand creatinine Complementlevels
Treatment depends on the cause of the disorder, and the type and severity of symptoms. High blood pressure may be hard to control. Controlling high blood pressure is usually the most important part of treatment.
Medicines that may be prescribed include:
Blood pressure medications to control high blood pressure, most commonly angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers
Medications that suppress the immune system
A procedure called plasmapheresis may sometimes be used for glomerulonephritis caused by immune problems. The fluid part of the blood that contains antibodies is removed and replaced with intravenous fluids or donated plasma (that does not contain antibodies). Removing antibodies may reduce inflammation in the kidney tissues.
You may need to limit salt, fluids,
Persons with this condition should be closely watched for signs of kidney failure. Dialysis or a kidney transplant may eventually be needed.
You can often ease the stress of illness by joining support groups where members share common experiences and problems.
Glomerulonephritis may be temporary and reversible, or it may get worse. Progressive glomerulonephritis may lead to:
Chronic kidney failure
Reduced kidney function
End-stage kidney disease
If you have nephrotic syndrome and it can be controlled, you may also be able to control other symptoms. If it cannot be controlled, you may develop end-stage kidney disease.
Acute nephritic syndrome
- Blood electrolyte problems
- Chronic kidney disease
Chronic or repeated urinary tract infection
- End-stage kidney disease
- Fluid overload — congestive
heart failure, pulmonary edema Hyperkalemia Hypertension
- Increased susceptibility to other infections
Malignant hypertension Nephrotic syndrome
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:
- You have a condition that increases your risk of glomerulonephritis
- You develop symptoms of glomerulonephritis
There is no way to prevent most cases of glomerulonephritis. Some cases may be prevented by avoiding or limiting exposure to organic solvents,