What is Glomerulonephritis?

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Inside the kidneys are filters that remove waste and extra fluid from the blood. Glomerulonephritis is a kind of kidney disease that is caused by inflammation of the filters in the kidneys. These filters may become damaged and no longer able to filter the blood effectively.

Glomerulonephritis, also called glomerular disease, reduces the kidney’s ability to work. In some cases, the glomerulonephritis is treatable and gets better. If the glomerulonephritis cannot be treated, the person may develop chronic kidney disease.

This condition may be caused by another health problem. Strep infections, blood disorders, cancer, heart infections, and lymphatic system disorders increases a person’s risk of this disease. Lupus and diabetes may be a risk factor for developing this kidney disease.

One of the common glomerulonephritis symptoms is blood in the urine. The urine will be a darker color than usual. When there is blood in the urine, the urine may look pink, orange, or brown. There also may be protein in the urine which can make the urine foamy.

The person may develop swelling that is spread throughout the body. Sometimes, the swelling is worse at the lower legs and ankles. Some people have noticeable swelling in the face and hands. The swelling is because the damaged kidneys can no longer filter the extra fluid from the blood, so the fluid builds up in the tissues.

Someone with this condition may feel sick and tired much of the time. The person may have aches in the joints and muscles. A fever and diarrhea might develop. Some people with this illness will vomit and have blood in the vomit. The person also may have bloody stools. Nosebleeds, cough, high blood pressure, and shortness of breath are glomerulonephritis symptoms. The person may have abdominal pain. Some people need to urinate more than usual.

To diagnose this condition, the doctor may perform urine and blood tests. A kidney ultrasound or abdominal CT scan may be used to get a view of the kidneys. If there is damage to the kidneys and they are not functioning normally, the doctor may diagnose the patient with chronic kidney disease.

The treatment for glomerulonephritis depends on what caused the condition and how much damage has been done. If the person has high blood pressure, lowering the blood pressure is a priority in the patient’s care. Prescription drugs may be used to lower blood pressure or treat the cause of this disease. The doctor may put the patient on a special kidney disease diet to help reduce the stress on the kidneys and slow the progression of the disease.

Glomerulonephritis can worsen and cause kidney failure. If the patient’s kidneys become severely impaired, the patient may need to go on dialysis. A kidney transplant may be desirable if the glomerulonephritis leads to kidney failure.

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