What Is Chronic Nephritis?

Human kidneys connected to veins and arteries.
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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Glomerulonephritis, or chronic nephritis, is a kidney disease that results in damage to the organ. Its cause can be due to a variety of factors, particularly issues with the immune system. Causes of this type of chronic kidney inflammation in individual cases, however, are often unknown.

Though many different causes can be to blame for the onset of chronic nephritis, one of the most common causes is an allergic reaction to medicine. This type of allergic reaction can cause both treatable and irreversible damage. Common over the counter medications, such as pain relievers, can lead to this renal failure. Prescription medications, such as those designed to combat cancer and depression, can also cause the inflammation.

Too much calcium in the blood can lead to chronic nephritis. The presence of other diseases in the body, such as chronic pyelonephritis, can also lead to the condition. As nephritis develops, it often spreads quickly, with several symptoms often displayed. Both laboratory and imaging tests may be conducted to properly identify the disease. Though early stages may be treated with lifestyle changes and medication, if this disease progresses without treatment it can lead to death.

As destruction of the the capillaries that initiate the blood filatration process, or glomeruli, occurs, the kidneys begin to shrivel. They shrink and thicken, causing normal kidney processes to halt. When this occurs, the patient may experience blood in his or her urine. He or she may retain urea rather than releasing it properly as well.

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Many other symptoms can appear during the onslaught of chronic nephritis, though they can be gradual. In addition to being bloody, the victim's urine may be foamy. Water retention from the renal failure often results in edema, or body swelling. This often occurs in the face, though it also manifests in the legs, feet, and other areas of the body. Painful physical symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort and muscle aches, can also occur.

Several factors can increase one's risk of developing chronic nephritis. People with a family history of diabetes or cancer are known to be at risk. People who are exposed to hydrocarbon solvents often experience kidney damage, too. Another risk factor may be the frequent occurrence of infections, such as strep or viruses. Being the victim of other diseases, such as lupus nephritis or Goodpasture syndrome, increases one's risk as well.

In addition to chronic nephritis, the disease is known by several other names. Glomerular disease is a common description of the illness. It is also called necrotizing glomerulonephritis, rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, and crescentic glomerulonephritis.

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Discuss this Article

anon323976
Post 5

What is the difference between chronic Glomerulonephritis and chronic renal failure?

healthy4life
Post 4

I have chronic interstitial nephritis, and it makes me feel like I am dying sometimes! I get so weak and ill, and nothing seems to help.

I just feel so fatigued. I have pain in my lower back, and I feel so nauseous that I don't want to eat at all. I don't urinate as much as I should, and my urine is dark.

I have had to undergo dialysis for this before, and I likely will again. It seems that I will just have to live with the knowledge that I will likely have more flareups in the future.

DylanB
Post 3

@StarJo – It's good that you are going to see your doctor. Blood in the urine doesn't always indicate something as serious as nephritis, but it's not something you should ignore.

My grandmother had chronic nephritis, and she would get really nauseated. She would have abdominal pains and lose her appetite.

It once flared up after she had strep throat, and then it happened again after she had the flu. In both cases, her doctor told her to limit her potassium, fluids, salt, and protein, and he gave her steroids.

Some people have it so bad that they are showing renal failure symptoms. They either need dialysis or a transplant, but the majority of people with chronic nephritis don't have it to this extreme.

StarJo
Post 2

I've been having some blood in my urine and some edema in the last month. Should I be worried about my kidneys?

If I do have chronic nephritis, can it be treated easily, or will I have to have a kidney transplant? I'm going to make an appointment with my doctor, but I'm really scared.

feasting
Post 1

Though I don't have chronic nephritis, I do have another kidney condition. It's called polycystic kidney disease.

I always wondered why my doctor told me not to take aspirin or ibuprofen, but come to find out, NSAIDS can contribute to chronic nephritis! So, they are just bad for your kidneys in general, and anyone who has any sort of kidney condition should avoid them.

This is hard for me, since I used to take ibuprofen for arthritis and headaches. However, I would rather deal with the pain than ruin my kidneys. I can't imagine developing chronic nephritis on top of polycystic kidney disease!

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