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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

What is glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is inflammation of the tissues in your kidney. These tissues work as a filter to separate waste and extra fluid from your blood. Your body turns waste and extra fluid into urine. Glomerulonephritis may be an immune system response to a trigger, causing inflammation. It may also develop a week or more after a strep infection.

What increases my risk for glomerulonephritis?

  • Recent infection
  • Certain medicines that can damage the kidney
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, lupus, cirrhosis, or celiac disease

What are the signs and symptoms of glomerulonephritis?

  • Blood in your urine, dark colored urine, or foamy urine
  • Swelling in your limbs or around your eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Severe tiredness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
  • Fever, rash, muscle or joint pain

How is glomerulonephritis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine you. You may need any of the following tests:

  • Urine tests may show blood or protein in your urine.
  • Blood tests may show kidney function, electrolyte levels, or infection.
  • A kidney x-ray or ultrasound may show the size and shape of your kidney. An ultrasound may also show other possible causes for your symptoms, such as a kidney stone.
  • A sample of tissue from your kidney may show what is causing your condition.

How is glomerulonephritis treated?

Treatment depends on the cause. You may not need any treatment or you may need any of the following:

  • Medicines may help lower and control your blood pressure, or treat a bacterial infection. You may also need medicine to decrease inflammation or balance your electrolytes.
  • Dialysis may be needed if your condition is severe. Dialysis helps clean your blood when your kidneys cannot.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Ask your healthcare provider what foods are best for you. You may need to change the amounts of carbohydrates and proteins that you eat. You may also need to limit the amount of sodium (salt) and potassium in the foods you eat.
  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to limit the amount you drink until your symptoms improve. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Ask your healthcare provider what your blood pressure and blood sugar levels should be. Control of these levels can help prevent kidney damage. Keep a record of your levels and bring the record to your follow up visits.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have trouble breathing.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have little to no urine.
  • You are dizzy, lightheaded, or feel faint.
  • Your legs, ankles, and feet are swollen.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea.
  • You have severe tiredness or are confused.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Glomerulonephritis

Treatment options

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Further information

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