Glomerulonephritis (also called GN or glomerular disease) is a group of diseases that affect the kidneys. Your kidneys have tiny filters called glomeruli. Glomeruli remove extra fluid and waste from your blood and pass it into your urine (pee). GN damages—or causes inflammation to—these tiny filters so they can’t work properly. Without treatment, GN can lead to kidney failure.
There are many types of GN. Some types only affect your kidneys. Other types affect your kidneys and other organs. Many types of GN are related to problems with your body’s immune system. Your immune system helps you fight infections, but sometimes it mistakenly attacks your own body and damages your kidneys. Infections, medicines, or other health problems can also cause GN. Most types of GN are not hereditary, which means they usually aren’t passed down in families.
Both adults and children can have GN, but some types are more common in adults, and some are more common in children. The symptoms and treatments for adults and children may also be different.
The following information will help you learn more about GN and what you might expect if you or your child has it. You will learn about things such as:
- symptoms of GN
- ways to diagnose GN (such as urine testing and kidney biopsy)
- types of GN
- treatments for GN
- how nutrition can help manage GN
- what to do in special cases, such as if you get sick while on treatment or if you’re pregnant