In this article, we will discuss glomerulonephritis, signs & symptoms, causes, complications, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, diet therapy for glomerulonephritis.
What is glomerulonephritis?
Glomerulonephritis is a disease of the kidney in which the glomeruli of the kidney does not work properly due to inflammation of the glomeruli. Glomeruli are the tiny filters of the kidney that remove the wastes, electrolytes, and excess fluid from the body by the process of filtration. Glomerulonephritis may be immediately (acute) or gradually (chronic). Prolonged inflammation of the kidney may damage your kidney.
Signs and symptoms of glomerulonephritis:
Signs and symptoms of glomerulonephritis depend upon the following factors:
- Causative agent
- Acute or chronic glomerulonephritis
But in normal cases, these signs & symptoms have been seen.
- Bubbling of urine due to the excess proteins in the urine is also called proteinuria.
- Pink or cola-colored urine, this is due to the RBCs (red blood cells) in the urine also called hematuria.
- Fluid retention in the body (edema) can be visible on the face, hands, abdomen, and feet.
- High blood pressure is also called hypertension.
Causes of glomerulonephritis:
Glomerulonephritis is caused by many factors. It may be from the family but the reason behind this is still unknown. It is also caused by bacteria, viruses and may be due to other diseases. But mainly the glomerulonephritis is caused by the following factors:
- Immune disease
We will discuss each cause in detail step by step.
1. The Immune diseases that cause glomerulonephritis:
There are approximately three immune diseases that can cause glomerulonephritis.
- Goodpasture’s syndrome
- IgA nephropathy
We will disease each of them how these diseases cause glomerulonephritis in the human body.
Goodpasture’s syndrome (GPS) is a rare disorder that is also known as anti-glomerular basement membrane disease. In this disease, the patient’s body mistakenly produces antibodies that damage the kidney and lungs. This damage in the kidney produces inflammation of the glomeruli. Goodpasture’s syndrome is more common in males at the age of 20-30 or above 60. If not treated may be fetal.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissue and thus causes inflammation on different body parts, like lungs, brain, kidney, joints, skin, etc. Inflammation of the kidney causes the inflammation of glomeruli and this condition is called glomerulonephritis.
When IgA is injected into the body sometimes it deposits immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the glomeruli of the kidney. Here is cause the inflammation of the glomeruli and causes glomerulonephritis.
2. Infections that cause glomerulonephritis:
Some infections caused by bacteria, viruses may cause glomerulonephritis. Here is a list of some infections that induce glomerulonephritis:
- Bacterial endocarditis
- PSGN (post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis)
- Viral infections
- Bacterial endocarditis:
Bacteria after entering into the body, they spread in the body with the help of the blood. When they enter into the heart where they can affect the valve of the heart. The heart does not pump blood properly, this attack is severe if the patient has a heart attack in history or an artificial valve in the heart. This condition is called bacterial endocarditis. There is a connection between bacterial endocarditis and glomerulonephritis but the reason is still unknown.
- PSGN (post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis):
In the recovery from strep throat infection or skin infection, our body produces antibodies for one or two weeks. These antibodies may deposit in the glomeruli. Thus as a result of settle down of the antibodies in the glomeruli may cause the inflammation of the glomeruli. This is a condition called glomerulonephritis.
3. Vasculitis that causes glomerulonephritis:
Vasculitis is also another cause of glomerulonephritis in the body. Mainly there are two vasculitides in the body that cause glomerulonephritis which is given below:
- Wegener’s granulomatosis
- PAN (polyarteritis nodosa)
- Weneger’s granulomatosis:
This form of vasculitis causes inflammation of small and medium blood vessels of different parts of the body like the nose, lung, throat, kidney, etc. Thus inflammation of the glomeruli of the kidney is presented as glomerulonephritis.
- PAN polyarteritis nodosa):
In the polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) small and medium blood vessels are prevented to carry blood and oxygen to the organs and thus inflammation of the small and medium vessels and this condition may be called glomerulonephritis.
Diabetic kidney disease, hypertension, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis also cause glomerulonephritis.
Complications due to glomerulonephritis:
In glomerulonephritis, your kidney does not filter much waste from your body and excrete more protein into the urine from the body that causes some completion some of them are given below and we will discuss each of them step by step.
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Acute kidney disease
- Chronic kidney disease
1. Nephrotic syndrome:
In this syndrome, a large amount of protein is excreted from your kidney into the urine and too little amount in the bloodstream, and high cholesterol in your body. Excessive protein excretion is happen in glomerulonephritis.
In glomerulonephritis, filtration of waste from the body is not done properly, thus these wastes accumulate in the bloodstream and cause high blood pressure.
3. Acute kidney disease:
Due to the accumulation of the wastes in the body because they are not excreted from the kidney. Therefore these wastes must be removed from the body artificially.
4. Chronic kidney disease:
With the passage of time, your kidney loses filtering ability and reached the end stage of the kidney and thus kidney should be transplanted to continue life.
When your routine urinalysis is not normal. To access the kidney functions and for the diagnosis, these tests are recommended to check whether you have glomerulonephritis or not.
If your urine test indicates red blood casts and red blood cells (RBCs) that show there might be glomeruli damage. Some white blood cells (WBCs) may also be shown that indicates the inflammation or infection in the kidney. An increased amount of proteins indicate that there is damage to nephrons and some increased level of creatinine or urea are indicators of something is wrong with the kidney.
Blood tests are also recommended for the abnormal functioning of the kidney. Blood tests are used to check the damage or loss of the glomeruli of the kidney. By estimating the amount of waste like creatine and blood urine nitrogen damage of the glomeruli is observed.
If doctors observed the damage in the kidney. The next step is to check the visualization of the kidney by recommending the X-ray, ultrasound, and CT scan of the kidney.
For the examination of the tissue, a kidney biopsy is recommended. In this procedure, a special needle is used to extract the tissue of the kidney for microscopic examination of the tissue. This examination is done to check the cause of the inflammation. Approximately kidney biopsy is compulsory for the diagnosis of glomerulonephritis.
Treatment for the glomerulonephritis depends upon the following factors:
- Acute or chronic glomerulonephritis
- The prime cause of the glomerulonephritis
- The seriousness of the signs & symptoms
In some cases, glomerulonephritis caused by the strep throat infection might improve on its own and require no treatment. But if the underlying is hypertension or other infection etc this condition requires proper treatment. In this situation, you must have to visit the doctor.