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How to Treat Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is a kidney disease caused by inflammation of the glomerulus. Glomerulus is the part of the kidney that functions to filter waste and remove excess fluid and electrolytes from the body. Then how to treat glomerulonephritis? See the explanation in this article.

How to Treat Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis can occur suddenly in a short time (acute) and can also occur over a long period of time (chronic). This condition can also develop quickly which can cause damage to the kidneys.

Causes of Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as infection, autoimmune disease, and inflammation of the blood vessels. Acute glomerulonephritis generally has a more obvious cause than chronic glomerulonephritis.

Some conditions that can cause a person to suffer from acute glomerulonephritis include:

1. Viral or bacterial infection

Viral or bacterial infections can trigger an excessive immune reaction, which can lead to inflammation of the kidneys. Some examples of infections that can cause glomerulonephritis include streptococcus bacterial infections in the throat, bacterial endocarditis, dental infections, hepatitis and HIV.

2. Immune system disorders

One type of immune system disease that can cause inflammation in all organs of the body including the kidneys and the glomerulus is lupus. In addition to lupus, immune system disorders that also cause inflammation of the glomerulus are:

  • IgA nephropathy is a condition that can cause deposits in one of the proteins that are part of the immune system (IgA) in the renal glomerulus.
  • Goodpasture's syndrome is a condition similar to pneumonia and can cause bleeding in the kidneys and lungs.

3. Vasculitis

Vasculitis can occur in various organs, including the kidneys. Examples of vasculitis diseases that can attack the renal blood vessels causing glomerulonephritis are Wegener's granulomatosis and polyarteritis.

Often chronic glomerulonephritis has no specific cause. One of the causes of chronic glomerulonephritis is a genetic disease such as Alport's syndrome. A history of cancer and exposure to chemical solvents of hydrocarbons is also suspected to trigger chronic glomerulonephritis.

Symptoms of Glomerulonephritis

Symptoms experienced by patients with glomerulonephritis depend on the type, whether acute or chronic. Commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Foamy urine
  • Reddish urine (hematuria)
  • Decreased frequency of urination
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Tired easily
  • Swollen stomach, legs, hands and face

For chronic glomerulonephritis symptoms are usually difficult to detect because glomerulonephritis can develop without symptoms. If symptoms appear, the symptoms can be similar to those of acute glomerulonephritis. However, chronic glomerulonephritis is different from acute glomerulonephritis, chronic glomerulonephritis causes the frequency of urination to increase at night.

How to Treat Glomerulonephritis

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult a doctor immediately. If you have a disease that can cause glomerulonephritis, such as lupus, then immediately get regular checkups and follow the treatment given by your doctor.

Before treating glomerulonephritis, the doctor will ask about the complaints or symptoms experienced and the patient's medical history. To determine the underlying cause of glomerulonephritis, the doctor will perform several tests. There are several types of tests that can be done, namely:

  • Blood tests are performed to determine whether there is an increase in the level of waste substances such as creatinine and urea, as well as a decrease in the level of albumin and hemoglobin protein (anemia).
  • Urine tests are performed to detect the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells and protein in the urine.
  • Immunological tests are performed to detect the presence or absence of autoimmune disease with increased levels of antiglomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM), antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA), antinuclear antibodies (ANA), and complement.
  • Scanning to see the condition of the kidneys in more detail with X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasound.
  • A kidney biopsy is performed by taking a sample of the kidney tissue to determine if there is any abnormal tissue and confirming glomerulonephritis.

Each patient with glomerulonephritis treatment steps are different, depending on the cause, the type of glomerulonephritis suffered (chronic or acute), and the severity of the symptoms they experience. The main goal of treating glomerulonephritis is to prevent further kidney damage. Sometimes acute glomerulonephritis can heal on its own without requiring any treatment.

There are several types of glomerulonephritis treatment that can be given by doctors, namely:

  • Immunosuppressants are medicines to treat glomerulonephritis due to autoimmune diseases, for example azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, and corticosteroids.
  • Antihypertensives are medicines to prevent further kidney damage due to an increase in blood pressure, for example ARBs (losartan and valsartan) and ACE inhibitors (captopril and lisinopril).
  • Plasmapheresis is a method used to remove harmful plasma from healthy plasma.
  • Other medications, such as diuretic medicines used to relieve swelling and calcium supplements.

If glomerulonephritis can be detected early, then kidney damage can be cured. If glomerulonephritis gets worse and causes kidney failure, the patient must undergo dialysis or kidney transplant surgery.

So that damage to the kidneys does not get worse, patients with glomerulonephritis are advised to take several steps, such as maintaining an ideal body weight, stopping smoking, adjusting diet by reducing salt, protein, and potassium intake.

Complications Of Glomerulonephritis

Sometimes acute glomerulonephritis can heal without the need for specific treatment. However, if not treated properly, glomerulonephritis can get worse and trigger various other diseases. Some of the complications that may occur as a result of suffering from glomerulonephritis are:

  • Hypertension
  • Vulnerable to infection
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Electrolyte balance disorders such as sodium and potassium
  • Heart failure and pulmonary edema due to fluid buildup in the body

That's an explanation of how to treat glomerulonephritis, hopefully it can be useful.

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