"What is glomerulonephritis"
What is glomerulonephritis / Nephritis / Nephrotic Syndrome? Each kidney contains about 1-3 million nephrons and they are the functional unit of the kidney.Each nephron contains a structure called the glomerulus through which the bloodvessels pass and the waste products of the body get .purified Glomerulonephritis is the term used to describe a group of diseases that damage the part of the kidney that filters blood. When the kidney is damaged, it cannot get rid of wastes and extra fluid in the body. If the illness continues, the kidneys .may stop working completely How do glomerular diseases interfere with kidney function? Glomerular diseases damage the glomeruli, letting protein and sometimes red blood cells leak into the urine. Sometimes a glomerular disease also interferes with the clearance of waste products by the kidney, so they begin to build up in the blood. Furthermore, loss of blood proteins like albumin in the urine can result in a fall in their level in the bloodstream. In normal blood, albumin acts like a sponge, drawing extra fluid from the body into the bloodstream, where it remains until the kidneys remove it. But when albumin leaks into the urine, the blood loses its capacity to absorb extra fluid from the body. Fluid can accumulate outside the circulatory system in the face, hands, feet, or ankles and cause swelling. What are the different types of glomerulonephritis? There are many types of Glomerulonephritis,but for convenience it is divided into two types a. acute b. chronic. 1 What are the diagnostic Tests that might be done? Acute:The acute form develops suddenly. You may get it after an infection in your throat or on your skin. Sometimes, you may get well on your own.Other times, your kidneys may stop working unless effective treatment is started quickly. The early signs of the acute disease are: proteinuria: large amounts of protein in the urine hematuria: blood in the urine reduced glomerular filtration rate: inefficient filtering of wastes from the blood hypoproteinemia: low blood protein edema: swelling in parts of the body One or more of these symptoms can be the first sign of kidney disease. But how would you know, for example, whether you have proteinuria? Before seeing a doctor, you may not. But some of these symptoms have signs, or visible manifestations. Signs and symptoms of kidney failure include: lack of appetite nausea and vomiting fatigue difficulty sleeping dry and itchy skin muscle cramps, especially at night. 2 What causes glomerulonephritis? Broadly we can divide the causes as follows: A. Autoimmunity: When the body's immune system functions properly, it creates protein-like substances called antibodies and immunoglobulins to protect the body against invading organisms. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system creates autoantibodies, which are antibodies or immunoglobulins that attack the body itself. Autoimmune diseases may be systemic and affect many parts of the body, or they may affect only specific organs or regions. B. Heredity: Sometimes this disease runs in families – This kind often shows up in young men who may also have hearing loss and vision loss. C. Infective : Glomerular disease sometimes develops rapidly after an infection in other parts of the body. Acute post- streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN),HIV etc. D. Sclerotic diseases: This means scarring of the glomeruli by various sysytemic and local causes. Example : Diabetes, Lupus disease etc. E. Idiopathic – Cause of the disease is unknown. How is a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis made? The first clues are your signs and symptoms. Finding protein and blood cells in your urine is another sign. Blood tests will help the doctor tell what type of illness you have and how much it has damaged your kidneys. Sometimes, your doctor will need to do a kidney biopsy by taking a tiny piece of your kidney with a special needle. This will help the doctor plan the best treatment for you. How can glomerulonephritis be prevented? Good hygiene, "safe sex" and avoiding IV drugs are helpful in preventing infections that could lead to this illness. If you have the chronic type, it is very important to control your blood pressure since this may slow down kidney 3 damage. Your doctor may tell you to eat less protein. A dietitian who is trained to work with kidney patients (a renal dietitian) can be very helpful in planning your diet What are the treatment options available for glomerulonephritis? Acute Form : It may go away by itself. Sometimes you may need medication or even temporary treatment with an artificial kidney machine to remove extra fluid and control high blood pressure and kidney failure. Antibiotics are not used for acute glomerulonephritis, but they are important in treating other forms of disease related to infection. If your illness is getting worse rapidly, you may be put on high doses of medicines that affect your immune system. Sometimes, your doctor may order plasmapheresis, a special blood filtering process to remove harmful proteins from your blood. Chronic Form: There is no specific treatment for the chronic form of the illness. Your doctor may tell you to: eat less protein, salt and potassium control your blood pressure take diuretics take calcium supplements 4 What are its complications? Acute nephritic syndrome Chronic renal failure End-stage renal disease Hypertension Malignant hypertension Fluid overload -- congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infection Increased susceptibility to other infections 5