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Glomerulonephritis – Causes and Symptoms of Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disorder in which the the ability of the kidney to remove wastes and excess fluids is damaged. It is also known as glomerular disease. It is characterized by swelling of the body, presence of red blood cells in the urine and high blood pressure. Glomerulonephritis mainly affects the younger population.

Glomerulonephritis can be acute i.e develops over a short period of time or chronic i.e develops and progresses slowly. If glomerulonephritis develops on its own, it is called as primary glomerulonephritis and if is caused as result of an other disease such as diabetes or any infection, it is called as secondary glomerulonephritis

Causes of Glomerulonephritis

Each kidney consists of glomeruli which are the tiny filters that filter blood passing into the kidney. Glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of glomeruli and thus damages kidney function. If they lose their ability to filter, the levels of wastes and fluids accumulate in the body and deprives the bloodstream of protein resulting in blood urination. The main cause of glomerulonephritis is not known but many conditions are known to cause the disease. The causes include:

Vasculitis

  • Wegener’s granulomatosis – This form of vasculitis affects medium and small blood vessels of kidneys, upper airways and lungs.
  • Polyarteritis – This form of vasculitis affects medium and small blood vessels of intestines, kidney, heart and many other parts of the body.

Immune diseases

  • IgA nephropathy – This disorder results from deposits of immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the glomeruli. Recurrent episodes of blood is seen in the urine. This is common in men than in women.
  • Goodpasture’s syndrome – A rare immune lung disease and causes bleeding into the lungs.
  • Lupus – A chronic inflammatory disease that affects lungs, heart, kidneys, joints, skin and many other parts of the body.


Infections

  • Viral infections – Viral infections that trigger glomerulonephritis are hepatitis B, C viruses and human immunodeficiency virus.
  • Bacterial endocarditis – Bacteria spreads through the bloodstream and enters into the heart. This leads to infection of the heart valves. People with damaged and artificial heart valves are at greater risk.
  • Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis – Streptococcal infections in the throat and on the skin lead to glomerulonephritis.

Conditions that cause glomeruli scarring

  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis – This condition is characterized by scattered scarring of glomeruli that may result from another disease of unknown cause.
  • Diabetic kidney disease – This condition may affect anyone suffering from diabetes. It takes some years to develop. Good control of blood pressure and blood sugar levels may control the condition.
  • High blood pressure – High blood pressure may result in kidney damage and their abnormal functioning that may lead to scarring of glomeruli.

Symptoms of Glomerulonephritis
Signs and symptoms of glomerulonephritis include:

  • Less frequent urination
  • Fatigue from anemia or kidney failure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint aches
  • Fever
  • General ill feeling
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Swelling of the abdomen, legs, feet, ankles, eyes and face
  • Foamy urine due to excess protein

Consult a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms related to glomerulonephritis and have a condition that may be a cause for glomerulonephritis.

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