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Glomerulonephritis

  • Definition
    • Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease in which the part of your kidneys that helps filter waste and fluids from the blood is damaged.

  • Alternative Names
    • Glomerulonephritis - chronic; Chronic nephritis; Glomerular disease; Necrotizing glomerulonephritis; Glomerulonephritis - crescentic; Crescentic glomerulonephritis; Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis

  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment
    • Treatment depends on the cause of the disorder, and the type and severity of symptoms. Controlling high blood pressure is usually the most important part of treatment.

      Medicines that may be prescribed include:

      • Blood pressure drugs, most often angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers
      • Corticosteroids
      • Drugs that suppress the immune system

      A procedure called plasmapheresis may sometimes be used for glomerulonephritis caused by immune problems. The fluid part of the blood that contains antibodies is removed and replaced with intravenous fluids or donated plasma (that does not contain antibodies). Removing antibodies may reduce inflammation in the kidney tissues.

      You may need to limit salt, fluids, protein, and other substances.

      People with this condition should be closely watched for signs of kidney failure. Dialysis or a kidney transplant may eventually be needed.

  • Support Groups
    • You can often ease the stress of illness by joining support groups where members share common experiences and problems.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Glomerulonephritis may be temporary and reversible, or it may get worse. Progressive glomerulonephritis may lead to:

      If you have nephrotic syndrome and it can be controlled, you may also be able to control other symptoms. If it cannot be controlled, you may develop end-stage kidney disease.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider if:

      • You have a condition that increases your risk for glomerulonephritis
      • You develop symptoms of glomerulonephritis
  • Prevention
    • Most cases of glomerulonephritis can't be prevented. Some cases may be prevented by avoiding or limiting exposure to organic solvents, mercury, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

  • References
    • Appel GB, Radhakrishnan JAI, D'Agati VD. Secondary glomerular disease. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Yu ASL, Brenner BM, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 32.

      Cattran DC, Reigh HN. Overview of therapy for glomerular disease. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Yu ASL, Brenner BM, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 33.

      Nachman PH, Hennette JC, Falk RJ. Primary glomerular disease. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Yu ASL, Brenner BM, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 31.