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Anatomy of the kidneys

The two kidneys are bean-shaped, fist-sized organs that sit just beneath the ribs
on either side of the spine.

They remove impurities and extra water from the blood, filtering about 150 quarts
of blood a day.

Each kidney consists of thousands of structures called nephrons, in which the


blood filtering takes place.

Nephrons are the functional units of the kidneys.

In each nephron, a two-step cleaning process separates necessary nutrients from


waste products.

A filter called the glomerulus catches blood cells and protein, sending water and
waste to a second filter, called a tubule.

The tubule captures minerals and extra protein. After that, waste materials leave
the body in the urine.

Damaged kidneys are unable to function at full capacity. Waste builds up and
causes serious health problems.

If the condition is severe or persistent enough, it can result in kidney failure.


Nephritis
Nephritis is a condition in which the nephrons become inflamed.

This inflammation, which is also known as glomerulonephritis, can adversely


affect kidney function.

Types

There are several types of nephritis that can occur in the kidneys.

There are several different types of nephritis, including:

Acute glomerulonephritis

Lupus nephritis

Alport syndrome, or chronic hereditary nephritis

Chronic glomerulonephritis

IgA nephropathy

Interstitial nephritis
This form of nephritis can develop suddenly after a severe infection, such
as strep throat, hepatitis, or HIV.

Lupus and rarer disorders, such as vasculitides and granulomatosis with


polyangiitis (GPA), can also lead to acute inflammation of the kidneys.

A person with these conditions will require prompt medical attention during a
flare-up to reduce kidney damage.

Lupus nephritis:

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks
healthy tissues in the body.

The symptoms of lupus nephritis include:

 foamy urine

 high blood pressure

 swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet

 joint problems, fever, and rashes.

Alport syndrome, or chronic hereditary nephritis:

It is usually more severe in men.

It has two forms:

1. Classic Alport syndrome: inherited as a sex – linked disorder

Symptoms: Hematuria, progressive uremia, sensorineural deafness and


deformities of the anterior surface of the lens

2. Nonclassic Alport syndrome: inherited as an autosomal disorder


Symptoms: Hematuria, progressive uremia, but not deafness and lens
deformities

Treatment: supportive

Corticosteroids and cytotoxic drugs are not effective.

This disease does not recur after kidney transplantation

Chronic glomerulonephritis:

This form of nephritis develops slowly and causes few symptoms in its early
stages.

This condition can cause severe kidney damage and kidney failure.

It may run in families or develop after a sudden disease.

IgA nephropathy:

This is one of the more common forms of nephritis.

It develops when IgA antibody deposits build up in the kidneys and cause
inflammation.

The immune system develops antibodies to combat harmful substances and


organisms that enter the body.

People with IgA neuropathy have defective IgA antibodies.

Can treat this condition with blood pressure medications.

Interstitial nephritis:

Often developing very rapidly.

This form of nephritis usually occurs due to infection or a particular medication.

It affects the part of the kidney called the interstitium, which is a fluid-filled space.
Causes
There are many different causes of nephritis. In some cases, the cause may not
be clear.

- Hreditory

- Infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B or C.

- Medications, such as antibiotics, pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-


inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or diuretic pills

Risk factors
The most important risk factors for kidney disease are:

 a family history of kidney disease

 high blood pressure

 diabetes

 obesity

 heart disease

 age of 60 years or more


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Symptoms
The symptoms of nephritis are rarely severe in the early stages.

 changes in urinating habits

 swelling anywhere in the body, especially the hands, feet, ankles, and face

 changes in urine color

 foamy urine

 blood in the urine


Diagnosis

- history and physical examination(urine that contains blood will appear


brown or pink)

- routine blood (creatinine level)

- urine test (protein in the urine)

- Biopsy is the best way to check for nephritis. For this procedure, a doctor
will remove a piece of the kidney with a needle and send it to a laboratory
for analysis.

Treatment
The treatment for nephritis may vary according to the cause and type.

Acute nephritis:

Sometimes resolves without treatment.

However, it usually requires medication and special procedures that remove


excess fluids and dangerous proteins.

Chronic nephritis:

Regular kidney check-ups and blood pressure monitoring

Prescription of water pills to control blood pressure and reduce any swelling.

Medications that prevent the immune system from attacking the kidneys can also
be beneficial in some cases.

Diet: low protein, salt, and potassium.

Prevention
Although it is not always possible to prevent nephritis, certain lifestyle practices
can reduce the risk for many people. These practices include:

 maintaining a healthy weight

 quitting smoking

 keeping blood pressure and blood sugar within healthy limits


 exercising regularly

 Eating a nutritious, balanced diet can also help protect kidney health.