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Glomerulonephritis
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Glomerulonephritis

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Acute glomerulonephritis refers to a specific set of renal diseases in which an immunologic mechanism triggers inflammation and proliferation of glomerular tissue. Hippocrates originally described the manifestation of back pain and hematuria, which lead to oliguria or anuria. With the development of the microscope, Langhans was able to describe the corresponding glomerular changes. Most original research focuses on the poststreptococcal patient.

When to seek medical advice 

Talk to your doctor if you have a condition that's associated with glomerulonephritis or if you're experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of glomerulonephritis.

Screening and diagnosis 

The first clue that you may have glomerulonephritis may come from your signs and symptoms. However, often the results of a urinalysis as part of a routine exam may alert your doctor to the possibility. The urinalysis may show red blood cells, an indicator of possible damage to the tubules; white blood cells, an indicator of infection; or increased protein, which may indicate kidney disease. Other indicators such as increased blood levels of creatinine or urea also may be red flags. Or, your hard-to-control high blood pressure may cause your doctor to suspect glomerulonephritis.

 

If your doctor suspects glomerulonephritis, you may undergo one or more of the diagnostic procedures:

  • Blood tests. These can provide information about kidney damage and impairment of the filtering mechanisms by measuring levels of waste products, such as creatinine and urea nitrogen.

  • Imaging tests. If your doctor sees evidence of damage, he or she may recommend diagnostic studies that allow visualization of your kidneys, such as a kidney X-ray, an ultrasound examination or a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

  • Kidney biopsy. This procedure involves using a special needle to extract small pieces of kidney tissue for microscopic examination to help determine the cause of the inflammation. A kidney biopsy is almost always necessary to confirm a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis.

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