Glomerular Disease

What is Glomerular Disease?

Glomerular disease is a disorder of the kidneys, in which the normal functioning of the kidneys is disturbed and the chemical balance is not maintained in your blood and urine. Healthy kidneys flush out toxins and waste materials in the urine and retain red blood corpuscles and proteins in the blood itself. But in case of glomerular disease, toxins are retained in the blood, whereas red blood cells and proteins get filtered out in the urine. This disorder can be either acute – meaning sudden occurrence or it can be chronic – meaning it builds up over a period. To understand what glomerular disease is, it is important to understand the functioning of kidneys.

The kidneys are bean-shaped fist-sized structures located near the rib cage. They have tiny structures called nephrons, which are filtering units for blood. These nephrons are made up of glomeruli and tubules. The function of glomeruli is to filter wastes and excess fluids. The function of tubules is to convert wastes into urine. In glomerular disease, the filtration process of the blood gets affected.


Some common symptoms of glomerular disease are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Decreasing frequency of urination
  • Fluid retention
  • Swelling in lower legs, face, feet and abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Blood loss in urine


The causes include: 

  • Genetic factors
  • Thin basement membrane disease
  • Post-infectious glomerulonephritis
  • IgA vasculitis
  • Lupus
  • Severe post-infectious glomerulonephritis
  • Fibrillary glomerulonephritis
  • Mixed cryoglobulinemia
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Membranous nephropathy
  • Final stage of post-infectious glomerulonephritis
  • IgA nephropathy 
  • Benign nephrosclerosis
  • Primary amyloidosis 
  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • Minimal change disease



The risk factors for glomerular disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney diseases and infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Age above 65


To prevent the chances of glomerular disease follow:

  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Avoid excessive usage of painkillers
  • Regular exercise
  • Dietary modification to suit problems like diabetes and high blood pressure

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, the diagnosis of glomerular disease is done using the following methods:


How is it treated?

The treatment of glomerular disease depends upon the severity of symptoms, the type of disease and the cause of the disease. Your specialist at Medanta that recommend may medications that comprise of:


  • Steroids

    Immunosuppressant medications like steroids are used to treat glomerular disease. If the disease is found to be rapidly progressive, plasmapheresis is used to remove blood components responsible for inflammation.

  • High blood pressure management

    Management of high blood pressure is important to decrease the damages onto the kidneys. Therefore, drugs are prescribed to decrease the amount of proteins in urine and to decrease the progression of glomerular disease.



  • Hemodialysis

    If left untreated, glomerular disease could lead to complications such as high blood pressure, acute kidney failure, chronic kidney failure and nephrotic syndrome. Acute kidney failure is likely to occur with acute glomerulonephritis. If glomeruli are incapable of filtering out waste, toxins accumulate in blood. In such cases, hemodialysis may be required to remove toxins from blood externally. This could be suggested as a temporary measure until the kidneys are restored to their original functionality, or be a permanent one in case the damages to the kidney are too severe to be treated.

  • Kidney transplantation

    If the functionality of your kidneys is beyond restoration, your nephrologist may suggest a kidney transplantation procedure. In this, a healthy kidney from a donor is transplanted into you by surgical means.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you have symptoms like lack of appetite, muscle cramps in the night, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dry and itchy skin, etc. you are advised to immediately contact your doctor.

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