Nephritis/Glomerulonephritis : Kidney Disease : Symptoms

Each kidney contains about 1-3 million nephrons and they are the functional unit of the kidney. Each nephron contains a structure called the glomerulus through which the blood vessels pass and the waste products of the body get purified.

Glomerulonephritis is the term used to describe a group of diseases that damage the part of the kidney that filters blood. When the kidney is damaged, it cannot get rid of wastes and extra fluid in the body. If the illness continues, the kidneys may stop working completely.

Definition
Nephritis is inflammation of the kidney.

Description
The most prevalent form of acute nephritis is glomerulonephritis. This condition affects children and teenagers far more often than it affects adults. It is inflammation of the glomeruli, or small round filters located in the kidney.

Pyelonephritis affects adults more than children, and is recognized as inflammation of the kidney and upper urinary tract.

A third type of nephritis is hereditary nephritis, a rare inherited condition.

Causes and symptoms
Acute glomerulonephritis usually develops a few weeks after a strep infection of the throat or skin. Symptoms of glomerulonephritis include fatigue, high blood pressure, and swelling. Swelling is most notable in the hands, feet, ankles and face.

Pyelonephritis usually occurs suddenly, and the acute form of this disease is more common in adult women. The most common cause of this form of bacterial nephritis is the backward flow of infected urine from the bladder into the upper urinary tract. Its symptoms include fever and chills, fatigue, burning or frequent urination, cloudy or bloody urine, and aching pain on one of both sides of the lower back or abdomen.

Hereditary nephritis can be present at birth. The rare disease presents in many different forms and can be responsible for up to 5% of end-stage renal disease in men.

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