Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease. It involves damage to the glomeruli (tiny filters) inside your kidneys. If you have glomerulonephritis, your kidneys can have trouble removing waste and fluid from your body. If the condition becomes severe, it can lead to kidney failure.

Causes of Glomerulonephritis

  • Genetics, meaning it runs in the family (this is rare).

  • Anti-GBM disease (formerly Goodpasture syndrome), a group of diseases affecting the lungs and kidneys.

  • Secondary to endocarditis, an infection in the heart valves.

  • Secondary to other viral infections, such as strep throat, HIV or hepatitis C.

  • Problems with the immune system attacking healthy parts of the body, such as with lupus.

  • Rare diseases that inflame blood vessels like granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener’s disease), microscopic polyangiitis, Henoch-Schönlein Purpura, or eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Churg-Srauss Syndrome).

Symptoms of Glomerulonephritis

  • Blood in the urine, which may make the pee look brown, pink or red.

  • Fatigue, nausea or a rash.

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) or shortness of breath.

  • Pain in the joints or abdomen (belly area).

  • Peeing less often or more often than normal.

  • Swelling in the legs or face.

  • Urine that’s foamy.

Diagnosis of Glomerulonephritis

Urine test

This test will determine if you have protein or blood in your urine.

Blood test

This test will measure the level of creatinine (waste product filtered by the kidneys) in a sample of your blood.

Kidney biopsy

For a kidney biopsy, a healthcare provider will use a needle to remove a tiny piece of kidney tissue. The tissue gets examined under a microscope.


An ultrasound checks the size of your kidneys, looks for blockages and identifies any problems.

Prevention of Glomerulonephritis

  • Eat a healthy, unprocessed food.

  • Manage high blood pressure with a low salt diet, exercise and medication.

  • Prevent infections by practicing good hygiene and safe sex. Also avoid using needles for illegal drugs and tattoos.

  • See a healthcare provider whenever you think you have an infection like strep throat.

Treatment of Glomerulonephritis

  • Changes to your diet so that you eat less protein, salt and potassium.

  • Corticosteroids such as prednisone.

  • Dialysis, which helps clean the blood, remove extra fluid and control blood pressure.

  • Diuretics (water pills) to reduce swelling.

  • Immunosuppressants, if a problem with the immune system causes the glomerulonephritis.

  • Medicine to lower your blood pressure, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers.

  • Plasmapheresis, a special process that filters protein from the blood.

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