Diseases that injure the glomeruli, the tiny filtering units within the kidney where blood is cleaned, are called Glomerular diseases.
Glomerular disease reduces the kidney’s ability to maintain a balance of specific substances in the blood stream. The kidney’s job is to filter the bad toxins in the blood from the good proteins and red blood cells. Glomerular disease causes the kidney to begin to retain the bad toxins and release the proteins and red blood cells from the body. Laboratory analysis of the urine from people who have glomerular disease often shows protein in the urine (proteinuria) and sometimes blood in the urine (hematuria). Glomerular diseases include many conditions with a variety of genetic and environmental causes. Most Glomerular diseases have specific names but might also be referred to as either:
- Glomerulonephritis (gloh-MEHR-yoo-loh-nef-RY-tis) which describes the inflammation of the membrane tissue in the glomerulus of the kidney that serves as a filter, separating wastes and extra fluid from the blood.
- Glomerulosclerosis (gloh-MEHR-yoo-loh-skleh-ROH-sis) describes the scarring or permanent damage to the tiny blood vessels within the kidney.
Although Glomerular diseases may have different causes, they can all lead to kidney failure. Symptoms of these diseases may be abrupt or slowly progressive. Treatment options are available for some types of Glomerular disease, but many of these therapies are toxic, non-specific, and have potential for major side effects. Some forms of glomerular disease do not respond to any therapies. It is important to seek continuous medical attention if you are affected by a Glomerular disease.