What is glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is a type of glomerular kidney disease in which the kidneys' filters (glomeruli composed of tiny blood vessels) become inflamed and scarred, and slowly lose their ability to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood to make urine. Types of glomerulonephritis include kidney disease of diabetes, IgA nephropathy, and lupus nephritis.

What are the symptoms of glomerulonephritis?

The kidneys can be severely damaged before any symptoms appear. The following are the most common symptoms of glomerulonephritis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. The symptoms of glomerulonephritis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis. Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Noticeable swelling of the face, hands, feet, and abdomen
  • Blood and protein in the urine
  • Decreased urine output

How is glomerulonephritis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for glomerulonephritis may include the following:

  • Urinalysis. Laboratory examination of urine for various cells and chemicals, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, infection, or excessive protein, to determine levels of protein and red blood cells in the urine.

  • Blood tests. Tests to measure the levels of waste products to determine how well the kidneys are filtering.

  • Ultrasound of the kidney. A diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs, to determine whether the shape or size of the kidney is abnormal. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.

  • Kidney biopsy. A procedure in which tissue samples are removed with a needle or during surgery from the kidney for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present.

[ top ]