Glomerulonephritis (GN) is a group of genitourinary conditions that usually affects one or both kidneys wherein the glomeruli (the tiny filters in the kidneys) are no longer able to do their job due to inflammation. The glomeruli are tasked to remove waste products from the bloodstream to be excreted via the urine.

This condition can either be acute (immediate onset) or chronic (slow progression). It also has different types: primary, if it happens on its own; and secondary, it is a complication of another disease such as diabetes or hypertension. The prolonged occurrence of glomerulonephritis can cause permanent damage to the kidneys, resulting to kidney failure.

This disease has an incidence that varies between 0.2 to 2.5 individuals per 100,000 people in a year. With these figures, glomerulonephritis can be considered as a rare disease.



Glomerulonephritis can be caused by various things, but its exact cause is largely unknown. It has been speculated that it is somehow influence by the problems in the body’s immune system, which brings about the damage to the glomeruli. Once these filtering units are damaged, it allows blood cells and protein substances to be leaked out into the urine.

Depending on the type of damage, glomerulonephritis can develop very quickly, and kidney function may be impaired within a few weeks or months from the onset of the inflammation.

Other diseases and conditions can also increase the risk of acquiring this condition. The following medical conditions are considered as risk factors for glomerulonephritis:

  • For acute glomerulonephritis:
    • Streptococcal throat infections;
    • SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus);
    • Amyloidosis;
    • Goodpasture’s syndrome;
    • Polyarteritisnodosa; and
    • Wegener’s disease.
  • For chronic glomerulonephritis:
    • Genetic diseases such as hereditary nephritis;
    • Immune diseases; and
    • Cancer


Signs and Symptoms

Acute glomerulonephritis develops quickly and suddenly. The symptoms of the acute disease include puffiness of the face especially upon waking up in the morning; presence of blood traces in the urine; urinating less frequently than normal; high blood pressure (hypertension); and shortness of breath due to accumulation of fluids in the lungs.

Chronic glomerulonephritis, on the other hand, may manifest no symptoms over the years as it progresses. This condition usually leads to kidney failure, and it is manifested by: presence of protein or blood in the urine; hypertension; edema (swelling and water retention) in the face or the feet; nocturia (increased frequency in urination episodes at night); nausea and vomiting; tiredness or fatigue; and dry, possibly itchy skin.



The different types of glomerulonephritis require different types of treatment. Despite the differences, it is quite important that the underlying cause of the condition should be addressed and managed first and foremost.

The primary focus for renal disease treatment is the containment of high blood pressure. It is a tedious task to control hypertension when the kidneys are not functioning properly. Blood pressure needs to be regulated as it can pose even greater damage to the kidneys if left unmanaged.

Medications like corticosteroids may be given to the patient in order to reduce the event of having the immune system attack its own kidneys, thereby reducing the inflammation, swelling, and fluid retention.

For chronic cases, lifestyle changes are in store in order to manage the condition. Dietary changes such as the reduction of protein consumption, including salt and potassium, may be introduced. The intake of liquids is also reduced to minimize swelling.

If kidney failure sets in, it is possible that the treatment will include dialysis sessions to compensate for the inability of the kidneys to filter waste products from the blood.


Disability Tax Credits for Glomerulonephritis


Individuals with glomerulonephritis, whether acute or chronic, may be entitled to a disability tax credit. If you are one of the people with this disease, you can file for a claim that is supported by a disability certificate signed by your doctor. In order to facilitate the processing of your documents, you can call on the HandyTax hotline for help.