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Glomerulonephritis - Things That Can Cause It!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ravi Bansal 89% (173 ratings)
DM - Nephrology, MD-Medicine, MBBS
Nephrologist, Delhi  •  24 years experience
Glomerulonephritis - Things That Can Cause It!

Our kidneys are responsible for filtering blood in order to remove all the toxic waste and then clear them out through urine. These tiny filters are known as glomeruli. Like any other organ, the functioning of the kidneys could be affected due to acute reasons, which can lead to accumulation of toxins in the body.

This can be due to either age, injury, infection, or other diseases. Acute infection of the kidneys causing glomerulonephritis is a very common condition. Read on to know more about its types, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Types/causes:

  1. Can be acute or chronic. Most acute cases follow an episode of viral or bacterial infection like skin or throat infection. Children are more likely to develop this compared to healthy adults. When presenting with reddish urine, it is always important to ask if there was a recent episode of throat or skin infection (bacterial or viral). A positive answer should lead to a suspicion for glomerulonephritis
  2. Can occur as a separate infection or as a part of other infections like a bladder infection, etc.
  3. Diabetics are more prone to develop chronic glomerulonephritis
  4. People with autoimmune diseases like lupus can also develop the chronic variety
  5. Vascular conditions like polyarteritis which affect multiple blood vessels also can lead to glomerulonephritis

Symptoms:
One of the most common symptoms includes the release of blood into the urine, which gives it a cola colour. This red-tinged urine is one of the most obvious symptoms of glomerulonephritis

  1. Fluid retention can lead to swelling of the legs, hands, and face
  2. Higher levels of blood pressure
  3. Chemically, there could be increased amount of protein released into the urine, and urinalysis will reveal higher amounts of protein in the urine

Complications:
As it can be asymptomatic, it can go untreated and can cause:

  1. Acute kidney failure
  2. Chronic kidney disease
  3. High blood pressure

Diagnosis: The chronic condition can go unnoticed due to lack of symptoms.

  1. If the patient complains of red or foaming urine, a urinalysis should be done. This would indicate blood cells, increased protein levels, and increased creatinine levels.
  2. Blood tests would indicate higher creatinine and BUN levels
  3. Imaging studies (CT scan or x-rays) can be done in chronic cases to identify the extent of kidney damage
  4. In some cases, biopsy may be done

Treatment:

  1. Acute cases may subside on their own or may require a course of antibiotics
  2. Associated conditions like autoimmune disorders, diabetes, vasculitis, should be treated
  3. Long-term kidney failure patients may require dialysis or transplant to restore kidney function.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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