What is glomerulonephritis?
Glomerulonephritis refers to a range of kidney diseases that are characterised by inflammation of the kidney filters (glomeruli). Glomeruli remove excess fluid and waste from your bloodstream into your urine.
Glomerulonephritis may be inherited or acquired and ranges in severity from mild problems in your urine to severe kidney disease.
The main presentations of glomerulonephritis include the presence of blood or protein in the urine, renal insufficiency, high blood pressure, swelling of hands and feet (oedema) and sometimes other systemic findings such as rash, fever, joint pains or night sweats.
Glomerulonephritis can develop suddenly (acute) or slowly over the course of years (chronic).
Conditions that can cause glomerulonephritis
Many conditions can cause glomerulonephritis. Examples include:
- Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy
- Infections (post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, bacterial endocarditis, viral infections)
- Goodpasture Syndrome
- Alport Syndrome
To establish a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis a range of investigations are necessary including an ultrasound of your kidneys, specific blood and urine tests and ultimately a kidney biopsy. Treatment for glomerulonephritis depends on the type of glomerular disease and may include serial blood tests to monitor kidney function, immunosuppressive medications or renal replacement therapies.