Glomerulonephritis is a disease that occurs when the part of the kidney that filters blood starts functioning poorly. When this happens, the kidney cannot get rid of wastes and extra fluid in the body.

Overview and Symptoms

Acute glomerulonephritis can be caused by after an infection in your throat or on your skin.  Symptoms include:

  • puffiness of your face in the morning
  • blood in your urine
  • less frequent urination
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing or fluid in the lungs
  • high blood pressure

Chronic glomerulonephritis may develop over several years. Symptoms include:

  • Blood or protein in the urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of your ankles or face
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Very bubbly or foamy urine 

Treatment

Blood tests will help your doctor to diagnose whether you have a form of glomerulonephritis. If necessary, a kidney biopsy may be needed to help diagnose you. During this procedure, a tiny piece of your kidney is removed with a needle and examined under a microscope.

Acute glomerulonephritis may go away without special treatment.  When treatment is necessary, it may include:

  • medication
  • dialysis
  • plasmapheresis, a special blood filtering process to remove harmful proteins from your blood 

There is no specific treatment for the chronic glomerulonephritis, but recommendations often include:

  • less protein, salt and potassium in your diet
  • taking steps to lower your blood pressure
  • water pills to treat puffiness and swelling
  • calcium supplements

Learn More

The Division of Nephrology at BIDMC is dedicated to providing leading-edge diagnoses and treatment in overall kidney care.
 

Nephrology (Kidney)