​Glomerulonephritis​


Glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of tiny filters in the kidney (glomeruli) responsible for cleaning blood.  When the kidney is injured, it cannot get rid of wastes and extra fluid in the body. If the illness continues, the kidneys may stop working completely, resulting in kidney failure.
Causes of glomerulonephritis may include:

  • Strep throat infections

  • Impetigo which is a skin infection

  • Genetics

  • Autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus

  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes

  • Inflammation of the blood vessels—vasculitis

  • Viruses, such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C

  • Inflammation of the tissue lining the heart—endocarditis

  • Drugs and toxins

If the onset and progression of glomerulonephritis is gradual, it is classified as chronic. If it occurs as a sudden attack of inflammation it is considered as acute.

If glomerulonephritis is mild, it may not cause any symptoms. In that case, the disease may be discovered only if protein or blood is found in the urine during a routine test. In other people, the first clue can be the development of high blood pressure.

If symptoms appear, they can include swelling around the feet, ankles, lower legs and eyes, reduced urination, dark urine (due to the presence of red blood cells in the urine) or foamy urine.

Fatigue, nausea and tremulousness are other common symptoms of kidney failure due to glomerulonephritis. In severe cases, confusion or coma may develop.

If you have any of the above symptoms, you should consult your family doctor or the internationally acclaimed panel of nephrologists from the Kidney and Bladder Service Line​ at the Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started. ​

To confirm the diagnosis of glomerulonephritis, your doctor will evaluate your kidney function through blood tests and an analysis of the urine (called a urinalysis) that detects blood, protein or signs of infection. You also may need specialized blood testing to check for specific autoimmune disease. A kidney biopsy, in which a tiny piece of kidney tissue is removed and examined in a laboratory, is the most helpful test when glomerulonephritis is suspected.

Treatment of glomerulonephritis is aimed at treating the cause. General treatment includes diuretics (which help in the elimination of un-needed water in the body) to reduce fluid retention, certain medications (ACE inhibitors) to control blood pressure and protein excretion. Some people with severe glomerulonephritis may be treated with medications called immunosuppressive drugs, which decrease the activity of the immune system. Such medications include steroids and other agents.

When glomerulonephritis progresses to severe irreversible renal failure, treatment options include dialysis or a kidney transplant.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.



​​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.