- The kidney is made
of multiple structures that are involved in filtering the blood
in order to remove waste products and
maintain fluid/electrolyte balance. The glomerulus (tuft or cluster
composed of blood vessels and nerve fibers) is one of
the primary filtering structures. When the
glomerulus becomes inflamed, this is known as
There are numerous causes.
syndromes can be divided into three categories based on
symptoms and signs, as follows:
- Nephritic syndrome -- High Blood Pressure, leg swelling, and urine analysis
shows red blood cells, red blood cell casts, and moderate
amounts of protein.
- Nephrotic Syndrome -- often-massive leg and body
swelling, blood has elevated triglycerides (fats), and
urine shows large amounts of protein.
- Disease states that affect the kidney -- for example, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus -- is an arthritic condition
that frequently affects the kidneys (multi-system
diseases, i.e., they affect more than one organ in the
- Nephritic conditions include:
- Poststreptococcal Glomerulonephritis -- occurs after a throat or Skin Infection of
- IgA Nephropathy (Berger's
disease) -- an autoimmune disease in which the body
attacks the kidneys
- Henoch-Schonlein purpura --
(probably) an autoimmune disease that also has raised red
skin lesions on the legs
- Rapidly progressive Glomerulonephritis
-- this is a general category of sudden rapid inflammation
of the glomeruli of the kidney. It can lead to rapid
kidney failure and needs early aggressive treatment
- Crescentic Glomerulonephritis -- may be idiopathic (unknown cause) or be part of another disease process going on in the body (Wegener's Granulomatosis)
- Goodpasture's syndrome -- kidney
disease of the membrane of the glomeruli that is
associated with bleeding in the lung as well.
- Minimal change disease -- most
commonly seen in children.
- Focal glomerulosclerosis -- commonly seen in AIDS
- Membranous Glomerulonephritis -- the most common form in adults. The cause may be unknown, but also may be associated with other diseases, such as Hepatitis B, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or thyroid disease (plus others)
- Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus -- an arthritic condition
that can affect many other organs, including the kidneys
- Diabetic nephropathy
- Multiple Myeloma -- a type of cancer of cells in the bone marrow
- 24-hour urine collection to check protein and Creatinine clearance
- Blood tests -- kidney function (BUN, Creatinine), Electrolytes, tests
for specific disease states (e.g., ANA for lupus, anti-GBM
for Goodpasture's disease, ANCA level for Wegener's disease)
- A kidney biopsy often with special
staining techniques (kidney biopsies usually can be done by
needle biopsy, without surgery)
- Kidney Ultrasound may be performed
- Depends on the cause. For autoimmune causes (i.e., the majority of the collective cases), corticosteroids and/or immune suppressant agents are used. For other causes, the underlying condition is treated. A Kidney specialist (nephrologist) decides the actual course of treatment.
- You need immediate medical treatment. Delay can result in permanent kidney damage or death.
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