Glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of the tiny filters found in the kidneys known as glomeruli. Glomeruli functions in removing the excess fluid, electrolytes and waste from the bloodstream and passes them into the urine. Glomerulonephritis is also called glomerular disease which can be acute or cause a sudden attack of inflammation or gradually happens. Glomerulonephritis that occurs on its own is called primary glomerulonephritis and if it is caused by some conditions like lupus or diabetes, it is called secondary glomerulonephritis. A severe inflammation caused by glomerulonephritis can damage the kidneys, but depends on the type of glomerulonephritis the affected person have.
Symptoms of glomerulonephritis
The symptoms will depend whether the person has acute or chronic form and it will be indicated from the results of a routine urinalysis.
- Foamy urine caused by excess proteins or proteinuria
- Presence of pink or cola colored blood cells found in the urine or hematuria
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue caused by anemia or kidney failure
- Edema or fluid retention with swelling especially in the face, hands, feet and abdomen.
Causes of glomerulonephritis
Glomerulonephritis can be caused by some conditions such as the following:
- Glomerulonephritis can develop a week or two after recovering from a strep throat infection or sometimes from a skin infection known as impetigo. In fighting the infection, the body will produce extra antibodies that will accumulate in the glomeruli, resulting to inflammation. Children are susceptible to these infections than adults.
- Glomerulonephritis can be caused by bacterial endocarditis which is a bacterium that spreads through the bloodstream and stays in the heart, causing an infection in one or more of the heart valves.
- Some viral infections like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also cause glomerulonephritis.
Some complications that can be caused by glomerulonephritis include acute kidney failure where there is the loss of function in the filtering part of the nephron that will cause the accumulation of waste products and dialysis is the remedy which is an artificial means of removing accumulated fluids and wastes products from the blood. Another is a chronic kidney disease where the kidneys lost their ability to filter and this requires a kidney transplant or a dialysis. Damage to the kidneys that results in the building up of wastes in the blood stream can cause rising of the blood pressure.
Treatment and home remedies
- Minimize consumption of salt in order to prevent and minimize fluid retention, hypertension and swelling. You can learn more about these measures by enrolling in a course on first aid
- Minimize on protein and potassium consumption in order to slow down the build-up of wastes in the blood.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stop smoking and levels of blood sugar if diabetic
Prevention of glomerulonephritis
- Seek medical help immediately if a strep infection is the cause of sore throat or impetigo.
- Control high blood pressure which will reduce the risk of causing damage to the kidneys from hypertension.
- Control levels of blood sugar in order to prevent diabetic nephropathy.