How is glomerulonephritis treated?

Early glomerulonephritis may not require treatment. In some cases, it spontaneously resolves. For symptomatic glomerulonephritis, treatment depends on the cause of the glomerulonephritis. One of the primary goals of glomerulonephritis treatment is controlling blood pressure to avoid further damage to the kidneys.

Medications for glomerulonephritis

Prescription medications may be used to control or treat the cause of glomerulonephritis including:

  • Blood pressure medications, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, which lower blood pressure
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone or methylprednisone, which control inflammation
  • Immunosuppressant drugs, which prevent the immune system from attacking the glomeruli

Other treatments for glomerulonephritis

Other approaches to treating glomerulonephritis are aimed at reducing inflammation of the kidneys and preventing the buildup of waste in the blood. These treatments include:

  • Dialysis to remove waste from the blood
  • Dietary modification to reduce salt, fluid, protein, or other substances in the blood
  • Kidney transplant
  • Plasmapheresis to remove antibodies against glomeruli from the blood
  • Support groups to help you better deal with the stress of living with glomerulonephritis

What you can do to improve your glomerulonephritis

In order to keep healthy and minimize the effects of glomerulonephritis, you may benefit from:

  • Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Controlling your blood pressure by practicing relaxation techniques
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet low in fats
  • Exercising regularly

Complementary treatments

Some complementary treatments may help you better deal with glomerulonephritis and its treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for traditional medical care. Be sure to notify your doctor if you are consuming nutritional supplements or homeopathic (nonprescription) remedies as they may interact with the prescribed medical therapy.

Complementary treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Nutritional dietary supplements, herbal remedies, tea beverages, and similar products
  • Yoga

What are the potential complications of glomerulonephritis?

While glomerulonephritis may go away on its own or may be mild in some cases, it is usually a progressive disease that can worsen with time, leading to serious complications. Complications of untreated or poorly controlled glomerulonephritis can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of glomerulonephritis include:

References:

  1. Glomerulonephritis. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001515/.
  2. Glomerulonephritis. Johns Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/nephrology/glomerulonephritis.html.
  3. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy.Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.
INTRODUCTION

What is glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammatory disease of the kidneys, specifically the glomeruli. The glomeruli are the part of the kidneys in charge of filtering waste from the bloodstream. Glomeruli can become inflamed for a variety of reasons. Once inflamed, the glomeruli cannot filter waste properly and become leaky, which allows protein and blood to pass into the urine.

Symptoms of g... Read more about glomerulonephritisintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of glomerulonephritis?

Symptoms of glomerulonephritis are usually progressive (worsen over time). They result from the kidneys’ inability to filter the blood and an increased leakiness of the glomeruli, which allows waste to build up in the bloodstream and blood and protein to pass into the urine. Sometimes, glomerulonephritis may be symptomless. In other cases, symptoms of glomerulonephritis can be severe and progre... Read more about glomerulonephritissymptoms

CAUSES

What causes glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is caused by inflammation of the glomeruli, the filtering structures within the kidney. Inflammation can arise from a variety of conditions, often autoimmune and genetic in origin. Exposure to certain chemicals and infections can also lead to glomerulonephritis. Sometimes, the precise cause of glomerulonephritis is not known.

Genetic, autoimmune, and inf... Read more about glomerulonephritiscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System


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