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- What is Nephritis?
- Diagnosing Nephritis
- What Causes Nephritis?
- Help for Nephritis
- More Information on Nephritis
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What is Nephritis?
Nephritis essentially involves the inflammation of the kidneys. It is the responsibility of the kidneys to filter out waste and excess fluid from the body, and when swelling occurs, their ability to filter properly is reduced. When this happens, the body accumulates both excess water and waste in the blood stream, while blood and protein are lost in the urine.
Because nephritis is a general term used to describe any kidney inflammation, the outcome and severity are entirely dependant on the underlying cause. In some cases, nephritis goes unnoticed and may not cause any serious problems. In other cases, nephritis is very serious and may lead to kidney disease such as glomerulonephritis, inflammation such as lupus nephritis, infections such as pyelonephritis, or even kidney failure in severe cases.
- Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli (small blood vessels) in the kidneys.
- Interstitial nephritis is an inflammation of the spaces between renal tubules.
- Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection that occurs when bacteria from a urinary tract infection spreads to the kidney.
- Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is a disease of the immune system.
Who Suffers from Nephritis? Is There a Cure?
Nephritis can affect anyone, although the prognosis is often determined by the cause, the individual’s age, as well as the type and degree of kidney damage. If the cause of the nephritis is treatable, nephritis symptoms usually disappear completely after treatment. However, in some cases, the damage is only partially reversible. In rarer cases where the nephritis is caused by a more serious condition such as HIV infection or lupus nephritis, dialysis may be necessary as the risk of renal failure increases. The most important thing to note is that most cases of nephritis can be treated, and the sooner the underlying cause is discovered, the faster and more effective treatment will be.
The first clues to nephritis may be your symptoms, but this is not always the case. For many people, nephritis is only discovered during a routine urine analysis test.
Doctors may be alerted to the fact that results come back with abnormal levels of blood or protein in the urine. In addition to a full urine analysis, your doctor may advise additional tests.
What Causes Nephritis?
Nephritis is essentially a general term with multiple causes, and in some cases the cause remains unknown.
Help for Nephritis
The treatment of nephritis is entirely dependent on the underlying cause of the condition, the severity of the condition, and whether it is acute or chronic. Acute nephritis, especially that following a strep throat infection, usually disappears in time with no specific treatment.
Apart from treating the underlying cause, the main aims of treatment are to reduce inflammation, limit the damage to the kidneys, and help support the body until the kidneys return to normal functioning.
Your doctor may suggest that you reduce salt and protein intake, and possibly lessen daily fluid intake. Bed rest may be necessary, and you may be prescribed a number of prescription medications.