Encyclopedia Home / G / Glomerulonephritis


  • Definition

    Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease in which the part of your kidneys that helps filter waste and fluids from the blood is damaged.

    Alternative Names

    Glomerulonephritis - chronic; Chronic nephritis; Glomerular disease; Necrotizing glomerulonephritis; Glomerulonephritis - crescentic; Crescentic glomerulonephritis; Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Glomerulonephritis may be caused by specific problems with the body's immune system. Often, the precise cause of glomerulonephritis is unknown.

    Damage to the glomeruli causes blood and protein to be lost in the urine.

    The condition may develop quickly, with loss of kidney function occurring over weeks and months (called rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis).

    In about a quarter of people with chronic glomerulonephritis there is no history of kidney disease and the disorder first appears as chronic renal failure.

    The following increase your risk of developing this condition:

    • History of cancer
    • Blood or lymphatic system disorders
    • Exposure to hydrocarbon solvents
    • Infections such as strep infections, viruses, heart infections,or abscesses
    • Diabetes

    Many conditions are known to cause or increase the risk for glomerulonephritis, including:

    • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
    • Goodpasture syndrome
    • Membranoproliferative GN
    • IgA nephropathy
    • Lupus nephritis or Henoch-Schonlein purpura
    • Anti-glomerular basement membrane antibody disease
    • Blood vessel diseases such as vasculitis or polyarteritis
    • Amyloidosis