Glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of the glomeruli in the kidneys. These tiny filters eliminate the surplus fluid and noxious wastes from the blood and get rid of them via urine. The condition may be acute, i.e. a sudden attack of inflammation or chronic, i.e. a slow insidious onset.
If glomerulonephritis occurs on its own, it is termed primary glomerulonephritis.
The signs and symptoms of glomerulonephritis include:
- Pink – brown urine because of the presence of RBCs.
- Foamy urine due to excess protein.
- Swelling on the face, hands, feet and abdomen.
- High blood pressure
What Are The Causes Of Glomerulonephritis?
Common causes include:
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis: Glomerulonephritis is known to occur 10 to 15 days after recovering from a strep throat infection. In order to battle the infection, your body releases extra anti-bodies which settle in the glomeruli, and set off an inflammation.
- Bacterial endocarditis: Bacteria spread through the blood and get lodged in the heart, causing infection of the valves. Glomerulonephritis and bacterial endocarditis are related to each other; however the precise connection is ambiguous.
- Viral infections: Viral infections, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and hepatitis C cause glomerulonephritis.
- A chronic inflammatory disease, lupus afflicts various parts of the body, including the – joints, kidneys, heart, blood cells and lungs.
- Goodpasture’s syndrome: An uncommon immunological condition of the lungs which is known to cause glomerulonephritis.
- IgA nephropathy: Deposits of immunoglobulin A (IgA) occur in the glomeruli and cause inflammation.
Conditions likely to cause scarring of the glomeruli
- High blood pressure damages the kidneys and impairs their normal functioning.
- Diabetic kidney disease: Diabetic nephropathy occurs in people having diabetes mellitus.
Treatment Options For Glomerulonephritis
The treatment of glomerulonephritis depends up on:
- Acute or chronic nature of the disease.
- The underlying causative factor.
- Intensity of the signs and symptoms.
The chief aim of the treatment regimen is to protect your kidneys from further damage. Monitoring the blood pressure is vital to protecting the kidneys. To manage the hypertension and to help keep the kidneys functioning normally, your health care provider will prescribe ACE inhibitors, diuretics and angiotensin II receptor blockers.
- Bacterial infection: You will be prescribed a suitable antibiotic to kill the bacteria.
- IgA nephropathy: Fish oil supplements and immune suppressing medicines help deal with IgA nephropathy.
- Lupus or vasculitis: Corticosteroids and immune suppressing medications are prescribed.
- Goodpasture’s syndrome: This condition is dealt with using plasmapheresis. Plasmapheresis eliminates the antibodies from the blood by taking some of the plasma and substituting it with donated plasma.
For cases of acute, sudden glomerulonephritis and acute kidney failure, dialysis is necessary; dialysis helps to get rid of the excess fluid and helps manage the high blood pressure as well. In cases of end stage kidney disease, you need to have kidney dialysis and renal transplant. When a renal transplant is not feasible, (usually on account of poor general health), dialysis is the only option for you.