Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is the 3rd leading cause of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in the United States. It occurs when the filtering part of the kidney, the glomerulus, is damaged. Causes include but are not limited to inherited diseases, infections, autoimmune disease, and unknown causes.

What is Glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is a term used by urologists / kidney specialists to describe diseases that cause inflammation of the kidneys, causing damage to the parts of the kidney that filter blood (called glomeruli). It is frequently caused by your immune system which attacks your own healthy body tissues. Terms such as nephrotic and nephrotic syndrome with glomerulonephritis are sometimes used to describe the patient’s signs and symptoms. Glomerulonephritis can sometimes be short-lived (severe), but often long-lasting (chronic) and in some cases progressive damage can lead to end-stage renal failure.

What causes Glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Toxins or drugs
  • Viral infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses
  • IgA nephropathy
  • Lupus-related kidney inflammation
  • Bacterial infections that commonly cause skin and throat infections, such as strep or staph bacteria

What are the symptoms of Glomerulonephritis?

The kidneys can be severely damaged before any symptoms appear. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of the face, hands, legs and abdomen
  • Blood and protein in the urine (hematuria and proteinuria)
  • Decreased urination

Symptoms of glomerulonephritis may appear as other medical conditions or problems. Always talk to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is glomerulonephritis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will review your medical history and perform a physical examination. Other tests may include:

  • Urine analysis. This test checks urine for red and white blood cells, infection, or excess protein.
  • Blood tests. Tests to measure the amount of waste to see how well the kidneys filters.
  • Ultrasound of the kidney.  This test uses high frequency sound waves and images of blood vessels, tissues and organs using a computer. This is done to see if the shape or size of the kidney is abnormal. Ultrasound is used to look at organs while working and to check blood flow through blood vessels.
  • Kidney biopsy. In this test, tissue samples are removed from the kidney and examined under a microscope.

How is Glomerulonephritis treated?

The suggested glomerulonephritis treatment depends on the cause and severity of the disease. Urologists are a team of specialist doctors at California Kidney Specialists who diagnose and manage diseases that cause glomerulonephritis.

Minor cases do not require any treatment and in some cases, treatments such as making changes in your diet can be as simple as eating less salt to reduce the pressure on your kidneys. This should be done following the advice of our California kidney specialist consultants. Antihypertensive drugs, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, are commonly prescribed for glomerulonephritis because they help protect the kidneys. If this condition is caused by a problem with your own immune system, medications called immunosuppressants may be used. Although treatment is effective in many cases, additional problems can sometimes develop. These include high blood pressure, injury to other organs, chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. Consultants from California Kidney Specialists can provide further advice on your specific condition. If you would like more information on the treatment of glomerulonephritis, please call for an appointment.

Get Glomerulonephritis Treatment at our San Dimas, Covina, Pesadana, Upland & Ontario Clinics.

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