Glomerulonephritis (gloe-mer-u-low-nuh-FRY-tis) is inflammation of the tiny filters in your kidneys (glomeruli). Glomeruli remove excess fluid, electrolytes and waste from your bloodstream and pass them into your urine. Also called glomerular disease, glomerulonephritis can be acute — a sudden attack of inflammation — or chronic — coming on gradually.

If glomerulonephritis occurs on its own, it's known as primary glomerulonephritis. If another disease, such as lupus or diabetes, is the cause, it's called secondary glomerulonephritis. Severe or prolonged inflammation associated with glomerulonephritis can damage your kidneys. Treatment depends on the type of glomerulonephritis you have.

Symptoms Causes Complications Prevention

Signs and symptoms of glomerulonephritis depend on whether you have the acute or chronic form, and the cause. Your first indication that something is wrong may come from symptoms or from the results of a routine urinalysis.

Glomerulonephritis signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pink or cola-colored urine from red blood cells in your urine (hematuria)
  • Foamy urine due to excess protein (proteinuria)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Fluid retention (edema) with swelling evident in your face, hands, feet and abdomen
  • Fatigue from anemia or kidney failure

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor promptly if you have any signs or symptoms that concern you.

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