What is going on in the body?
- acute glomerulonephritis, which may develop suddenly and may result from a previous Group A streptococcus infection of the throat ("strep throat") or skin (impetigo or Scarlet Fever)
- rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (called RPGN) which has numerous causes,
- a few other diseases such as Berger's, Henoch-Schonlein, vasculitis and lupus as well as similar "autoimmune" (or directed against self) inflammations.
- diabetes mellitus
- chronic glomerulonephritis, which may develop slowly or be the result of a severe initial inflammation that progresses later.
- nephrotic syndrome, which causes a set of symptoms including body swelling called "edema" and an elevated cholesterol in the blood
- nephritic syndrome or blood in the urine and high blood pressure often with kidney function loss
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
- diabetes mellitus is a major cause of GN
- autoimmune disorders, such as a condition called systemic lupus erythematosus
- certain cancers
- hepatitis from hepatitis B and C infections that result from drug use or unsafe sex
- genetic tendencies (a disease called Alport Syndrome, for example)
- infections, such as a heart infection known as endocarditis
- Group A streptococcal infection such as strep throat or skin infections.
- the HIV virus can cause glomerular disease
- diseases associated with a particular type of antibody called an ANCA can cause GN
- vasculitis can cause GN
What can be done to prevent the disease?
How is the disease diagnosed?
- antibody titer tests that may detect an autoimmune disorder like an "ANA" for lupus)
- antibody titer tests that may detect an infection such as chronic hepatitis B or C.
- protein tests that determine how much protein there is in the urine.
- a complement level that is decreased with some GNs (after a strep infection, with lupus)
- ANCA test
Long Term Effects
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
What are the risks to others?
What are the treatments for the disease?
- tight control of diabetes if it is te cause of GN
- ACE inhibitors (ACEIs), such as enalapril (i.e., Vasotec), lisinopril (i.e., Prinivil, Zestril), or captopril (i.e., Capoten)
- ARBS another class of BP medicine may be used alone or with ACEIs because they not only lower blood pressure but also decrease protein in the urine.
- antibiotics if an infection is present (like with strep)
- corticosteroids, such as prednisone or other intravenous kinds
- cytotoxic agents, which inhibit the immune system (like cyclophosphamide <i.e., Cytoxan> or azathioprine <i.e., Imuran>)
- diuretics or water pills to decrease fluid retention/edema
- medicines that lower cholesterol may be used, such as the statins.
- hemodialysis (temporary or permanent) by hooking the person with GN or kidney failure up to a machine that filters the blood
- chemotherapy for some cancers (like myeloma)
- kidney transplant
- a special diet for kidney disease (limiting protein and potassium)
What are the side effects of the treatments?
What happens after treatment for the disease?
How is the disease monitored?