Glomerular Disease

Diseases that injure the glomeruli, the small filtering units in the kidney where blood is cleaned, are called glomerular diseases.

Glomerular diseases reduce the kidney’s ability to maintain a balance of specific substances in the blood stream. The kidney’s job is to filter the bad toxins in the blood from the good proteins and red blood cells. Glomerular disease causes the kidney to start retaining the bad toxins and release the proteins and red blood cells from the body. Laboratory analysis of the urine from people who have glomerular disease often shows protein in the urine (proteinuria) and sometimes blood in the urine (hematuria). Glomerular diseases include many conditions with a variety of genetic and environmental causes.

Although glomerular diseases may have different causes, they can all lead to kidney failure. Symptoms of these diseases may be abrupt or gradual. Treatment options are available for some types of the disease, but some forms do not respond to any therapies. It is important to seek continuous medical attention if you are affected by a glomerular disease.

Symptoms

The symptoms of glomerular disease include:

  • Edema (swelling) in different parts of the body
  • Reddish, brownish or pinkish urine
  • Foamy urine
  • Oliguria (reduced urine output)
Treatment

Treatment varies depending on the cause of the disorder, and the type and severity of the symptoms. Some treatment options are:

Blood Pressure Control

High blood pressure may be difficult to control, and it is generally the most important aspect of treatment. Blood pressure medications are often used. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers are prescribed most commonly.

Immuno Suppression with Steroids

Corticosteroids may relieve symptoms in some cases. Other medications that suppress the immune system may also be prescribed, depending on the cause of the condition.

Plasmapheresis

A procedure called plasmapheresis may be used for some cases of glomerulonephritis due to immune-related causes. The fluid part of the blood containing antibodies is removed and replaced with intravenous fluids or donated plasma (without antibodies). Removing antibodies may reduce inflammation in the kidney tissue.

Changes in Diet

Dietary restrictions on salt, fluids, protein and other substances are often recommended.