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Nephritis

What is nephritis?

What cause nephritis?

What are the symptoms and complications of nephritis?

How to diagnose nephritis?

What are the prevention and prognosis of nephritis?

What is nephritis?

Nephritis is the most common renal disease. As its name indicates, nephritis means there are inflammations in the kidneys. Different from inflammations in other organs which are caused by bacteria and pathogenic microbes, renal inflammation is immune-mediated inflammatory reaction in the kidneys.

There are a variety of nephritis such as acute glomerulonephritis, chronic glomerulonephritis, latent nephritis, lupus nephritis, purpura nephritis, etc.

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What cause nephritis?

Nephritis is caused by the deposition of immune complexes in the kidneys. The deposition of immune complexes does not cause direct damages to the kidney, but it will activate various inflammatory mediators such as complement system, white blood cells, mononuclear macrophage and blood coagulation system. All these factors will damage renal tissues and renal functions.

When different antigen microbes invade the body, there will be different antigen-antibody immune complexes, according to the types, location and severity immune complexes in the kidneys, there are different nephritis types.

Hemodynamic changes in glomeruli will cause high pressure, high perfusion and high filtration in glomeruli and lead to gradual glomerular sclerosis and loss of kidney functions.

Other causes of nephritis include various infections, toxins, drugs and heavy metals, etc.

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What are the symptoms and complications of nephritis?

Infections. Most nephritis patients have infections a month before the onset of nephritis.

Urinary changes. In the beginning, patients can have diuresis and then gradually the urine volume will decrease or even anuria. At the same time, there can be blood seen in urine. Gross hematuria can last for short time or long time but microscopic hematuria will be persistent. There can also be foamy urine which is called proteinuria in clinic.

Swelling. About 50% patients have swelling and it is hard to fade away.

High blood pressure. Some patients have high blood pressure at the time of nephritis onset and some may develop hypertension later.

Decline of renal functions. There will be progressive decline of kidney functions. There are significant damages of glomerular filtration rate and renal tubular functions.

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How to diagnose nephritis?

Urine test---can detect urinary changes such as protein, blood, bacteria in urine.

Blood test---measure how well kidneys are functioning and help find what cause nephritis.

Renal imaging tests---including ultrasound, CT, MRI which can create images of renal structure.

Renal biopsy---is to remove sample of renal tissues to make clear the pathological type of nephritis.

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What are the prevention and prognosis of nephritis?

Enough attention should be paid to early prevention for nephritis so as to achieve a better prognosis. It has been reported that nephritis is the 8th highest cause of death for human beings.

Since nephritis patients usually have infections before the onset of nephritis. What is more, infections and bacteria are often the cause or inducement of nephritis, it is very important to improve immunity and disease-resistance ability so as to reduce the incidence of nephritis.

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