Glomerulonephritis is inflammation of the tiny filters in your kidneys (glomeruli). Glomeruli remove excess fluid, electrolytes and waste from your bloodstream and pass them into your urine. Also called glomerular disease, glomerulonephritis can be acute — a sudden attack of inflammation — or chronic — coming on gradually.
Signs and symptoms of glomerulonephritis depend on whether you have the acute or chronic form, and the cause. Your first indication that something is wrong may come from symptoms or from the results of a routine urinalysis.
Glomerulonephritis signs and symptoms may include:
• Pink or cola-colored urine from red blood cells in your urine (hematuria)
• Foamy urine due to excess protein (proteinuria)
• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• Fluid retention (edema) with swelling evident in your face, hands, feet and abdomen
• Fatigue from anemia or kidney failure
Tests to assess your kidney function and make a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis include:
• Urine test. A urinalysis may show red blood cells and red cell casts in your urine, an indicator of possible damage to the glomeruli. Urinalysis results may also show white blood cells, a common indicator of infection or inflammation, and increased protein, which may indicate nephron damage. Other indicators, such as increased blood levels of creatinine or urea, are red flags.
• Blood tests. These can provide information about kidney damage and impairment of the glomeruli by measuring levels of waste products, such as creatinine and blood urea nitrogen.
• Imaging tests.
• kidney X-ray
• Ultrasound examination
• Computerized tomography (CT) scan.
• Kidney biopsy. This procedure involves using a special needle to extract small pieces of kidney tissue for microscopic examination to help determine the cause of the inflammation. A kidney biopsy is almost always necessary to confirm a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis.
Treatment of glomerulonephritis and your outcome depend on:
• Whether you have an acute or chronic form of the disease
• The underlying cause
• The type and severity of your signs and symptoms
In general, the goal of treatment is to protect your kidneys from further damage.
Treatment for high blood pressure
Keeping your blood pressure under control is key to protecting your kidneys. To control your high blood pressure and slow the decline in kidney function, Aadil hospitals doctor may prescribe one of several medications, including:
• Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
• Angiotensin II receptor blockers
Treatment for an underlying cause
If there's an underlying cause for your kidney inflammation, your doctor may prescribe other drugs to treat the underlying problem, in addition to treatment to control any hypertension:
• Strep or other bacterial infection. Treatment usually focuses on easing your signs and symptoms. Aadil’ hospital doctor also may prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.
• Lupus or vasculitis. Doctors often prescribe corticosteroids and immune-suppressing drugs to control inflammation.
• IgA nephropathy. In some cases, both fish oil supplements and certain immune-suppressing drugs can successfully treat certain people with IgA nephropathy. Researchers continue to investigate fish oil supplements for IgA nephropathy.
• Goodpasture's syndrome. Plasmapheresis is sometimes used to treat people with Goodpasture's syndrome. Plasmapheresis is a mechanical process that removes antibodies from your blood by taking some of your plasma out of your blood and replacing it with other fluid or donated plasma.
Therapies for associated kidney failure
For acute glomerulonephritis and acute kidney failure, dialysis can help remove excess fluid and control high blood pressure. The only long-term therapies for end-stage kidney disease are kidney dialysis and kidney transplant. When a transplant isn't possible, often because of poor general health, dialysis is the only option.