Glomerulonephritis is one of the kidney diseases. It is also called as a glomerular disease, nephritis, or nephrotic syndrome. It is the inflammation of the glomeruli (tiny filters of the kidney). Glomeruli are the clusters of the microscopic blood vessels of the kidneys with tiny pores, through which blood is filtered. The glomeruli help in filtering and removing excess fluids through urine. It is a serious illness of the kidneys, which requires immediate treatment. Prolonged glomerulonephritis can be a life-threatening condition.
It is of two types depending on the development of the condition, acute and chronic. Acute glomerulonephritis is the sudden inflammation of the glomeruli whereas chronic glomerulonephritis is the gradual inflammation of the glomeruli. It is called as primary glomerulonephritis if it occurs on its own. It is called as secondary glomerulonephritis when it occurs due to diseases such as diabetes or lupus. If the nephritis occurs due to systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), then the condition is termed as lupus nephritis.
The signs and symptoms of nephritis vary for acute or chronic condition.
Follow some measures to prevent nephritis:
It can be caused by infections such as strep throat, bacterial endocarditis, and viral infections (HIV, hepatitis B and C). Some immune diseases such as lupus, Goodpasture’s syndrome IgA nephropathy and vasculitis such as polyarteritis nodosa, Wegener’s disease may also lead to glomerulonephritis. Sometimes it can also be hereditary and can lead to chronic glomerulonephritis. Alport is an inherited form of glomerulonephritis which can lead to hearing and vision impairment. An acute attack can develop into a chronic attack if it is untreated. Kidney failure is the first indication of a chronic glomerulonephritis. Some conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetic kidney disease, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis can lead to scarring of the glomeruli.
To assess the kidney function and diagnose glomerulonephritis, following diagnostic tests are suggested by the doctor:Blood tests: Blood tests are recommended to identify anemia, blood urea nitrogen levels, creatinine levels, and albumin levels. These tests help in identifying abnormalities.
The treatment of nephritis depends on the condition (acute or chronic), the severity of the symptoms, and the underlying cause. Glomerulonephritis due to strep infection can resolve on its own, and no treatment is required. The glomerulonephritis treatment involves protection of the kidneys from further damage.
To control high blood pressure levels, your doctor may prescribe angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, diuretics, and angiotensin II receptor blockers. Antibiotics are suggested by the doctors to control the underlying infections. Corticosteroids and immune suppressing drugs are suggested to control the inflammation. Plasmapheresis is suggested if the underlying cause is Goodpasture’s syndrome. In some acute conditions and kidney failure, dialysis is suggested. A kidney transplantation is also necessary in the case of end-stage of kidney disease.