Pronounced: glom-air-u-lo-nuh-FRI-tisEn Español (Spanish Version)
Glomerulonephritis is a kidney condition that involves damage to the glomeruli. Glomeruli are the tiny structures within the kidney that filter blood.
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in the back just below the rib cage. Each kidney is about the size of a fist. The two kidneys filter blood, catch needed substances and return them to the circulation, and dispose of wastes in the urine. If the kidneys don’t filter properly, wastes build up in the blood.
There are two types of glomerulonephritis:
- Acute glomerulonephritis begins suddenly.
- Chronic glomerulonephritis develops gradually over several years.
Anatomy of the Kidney
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Causes of glomerulonephritis include:
- Streptococcal infection of the throat known as strep throat
- Streptococcal infection of the skin known as impetigo
- Hereditary causes
- Immune diseases, such as lupus
- Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes
- Vasculitis, which is also known as inflammation of the blood vessels
- Viruses, such as HIV, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus
- Endocarditis, which is an infection of the valves of the heart
- Drugs and toxins
Last reviewedMay 2014by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.