Our kidneys do a lot of work keeping the body healthy. They filter fluids, electrolytes, toxins, and waste the body can’t use. Inside the kidneys are blood vessels that help with the filtering process.
They are called glomeruli—and when they become inflamed, the condition is called glomerulonephritis.
There are two types of glomerulonephritis: Chronic and acute. Both can be further broken down into primary and secondary glomerulonephritis. The good news? This is a condition that can be easily treated; however, in more severe cases, kidney damage can occur.
Depending on whether the patient has the acute or chronic form, symptoms can vary. They include excess protein in the urine (which makes it appear foamy), hypertension, fluid retention in the face, hands, feet, and abdomen, and fatigue.
Glomerulonephritis can be diagnosed through a routine urinalysis.
In the case of acute glomerulonephritis, the underlying cause can be treated. For example, a strep infection can be one of the causes; however, in most cases, the inflammation resolves without treatment.
For the chronic form, hypertension can be treated with the standard protocol, while other symptoms may require specialized treatment. It is recommended that patients limit their salt intake, maintain a healthy weight, and if diabetes is present, gain control of blood glucose.
As with all rare diseases, living with kidney disease can be the cause of great emotional distress, so getting the support you need is essential. To find a support group near you, ask your doctor for recommendations, or contact the National Kidney Foundation.