Glomerulonephritis are inflammatory conditions that affect the glomeruli (small filters in the kidney that help remove waste and excess water from the blood) and small blood vessels in the kidneys. Glomerulonephritis may affect patients in many ways: some feel completely well while others may have severe body swelling if they develop nephrotic syndrome. Untreated kidney inflammation can lead to chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.
Find out more about glomerulonephritis and how it affects patients:
Glomerulonephritis may not show any signs or symptoms at an early stage. It may be picked up during routine health screening detecting the presence of blood or protein in the urine. Certain types of glomerulonephritis can present with disease activity in other parts of the body as part of a multi-system autoimmune disease, for example, skin rash or joint inflammation in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
There are many causes of glomerulonephritis. Some are primary i.e. arising in the kidney, while others may be related to systemic diseases that affect the rest of the body. One of the most common secondary glomerulonephritis is lupus nephritis. To diagnose the underlying cause of glomerulonephritis, a kidney biopsy to obtain kidney tissue for microscopic examination is usually required.
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Renal biopsy –This is a procedure that is done in the ward under local anaesthesia, in which a small sample of the kidney is obtained using an ultrasound guided biopsy needle for microscopic examination.
Certain types of glomerulonephritides are associated with malignant conditions such as bone marrow infiltration and solid organ tumours and further screening for these conditions via computed tomography scans, endoscopy or bone marrow studies may be required.
Treatment will depend on the clinical symptoms, type of glomerulonephritis and severity of kidney impairment.
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