The Kidney Clinic

Signs, Diagnoses, and Care for Kidney Inflammation (Nephritis)

Signs, Diagnoses, and Care for Kidney Inflammation (Nephritis)

Inflammation of the Kidney (Nephritis)

Our kidneys play a vital role in our bodies as part of our urinary system. They filter out waste products and excess fluids from circulation. Unfortunately, kidney inflammation can have severe consequences for our health and bring on various signs. In this article, we will explore how kidney inflammation can affect us, including its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options available.

What are the Symptoms of Nephritis (Kidney Inflammation)?

Nephritis is a term used to describe kidney inflammation, and it can lead to various symptoms. These symptoms may vary in severity, ranging from mild to very intense. Common symptoms associated with nephritis are:

► Swelling: Edema, also known as swelling, is a frequently seen symptom of kidney inflammation. This symptom can appear in many areas, including the face, legs, ankles, and feet.

► Pain: Pain in the lower back, sides, or abdomen can also be a symptom of inflammation affecting the kidneys. The ache can range from dull to sharp and may be accompanied by a fever or chills.

► Changes in urine: Those suffering from inflamed or infected kidneys may experience changes in their urine, such as a different color, volume and odor. There could also be evidence of blood in urine for some people.

► Fatigue: Excessive tiredness and a lack of energy can often be caused by an inflamed state in the kidneys.

► High blood pressure: High blood pressure can often be a consequence of kidney inflammation.

What Causes Inflammation in People with Chronic Kidney Disease?

Those suffering from chronic kidney diseases (CKD) experience a gradual weakening of their kidneys over time, and inflammation is a common side effect of this condition. CKD can worsen the state of the kidneys and create other health issues. Hearing about chronic kidney diseases is always concerning, but there is some good news. By focusing on inflammation reduction techniques, managing and improving certain contributing factors is possible.

The initial stage of chronic kidney disease leads to the body’s inability to effectively filter out waste products, which can result in an accumulation of toxins in the body. This buildup activates an immune response that creates inflammation within the body itself, leading to further kidney damage.

Individuals with chronic kidney disease may also be subject to oxidative stress due to an imbalance between the number of free radicals and antioxidants circulating in the body. This shift can cause inflammation and damage to the tissue due to insufficient antioxidants. The kidneys are typically responsible for producing sufficient antioxidant molecules, but this could be inhibited in those with chronic kidney disease, resulting in increased inflammation. In addition to the above, individuals with chronic kidney disease are more prone to infection, leading to inflammation in the body. When pathogens invade, the immune system produces inflammatory molecules that may have a detrimental effect on organs like the kidneys.

Although diabetes and high blood pressure are not the only causes of chronic kidney disease, they play a significant role in its development. Glucose levels that are too high in individuals with diabetes can damage blood vessels and tissues, ultimately resulting in inflammation. Likewise, high blood pressure damages blood vessels and tissues, leading to swelling and tissue damage.

Diagnosis of Nephritis (Kidney Inflammation)

It is essential to seek medical attention when any symptoms occur. Your renal specialist or physician will start by inquiring about your medical history, along with a physical examination. They may also order diagnostic tests such as blood and urine samples to look for indications of inflammation and determine renal function. If necessary, your renal specialist may recommend further tests, like an ultrasound, a CT scan, or a kidney biopsy, to assess any potential harm or inflammation of the kidneys

Treatment of Nephritis

Nephritis can be serious, and its treatment will depend on its underlying cause. Kidney inflammation may resolve independently, but treatment is often necessary to prevent long-term kidney damage. Corticosteroids or immunosuppressants may be prescribed to individuals as a form of relief from inflammation. These medications can help reduce the intensity of symptoms. In some cases, antibiotics may also be necessary to treat a bacterial infection causing the inflammation.

When kidneys become significantly impaired, it may be necessary to undergo dialysis to expel toxins and excess fluids from the blood. In more severe cases, if left untreated, kidney inflammation can sometimes lead to chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease, which may require a kidney transplant.

Nephritis can dramatically affect a person’s health and well-being. It is essential to see a nephrologist to assess and treat any symptoms that might point to this condition. Prompt action may help protect your kidneys from long-term harm, leading to positive outcomes.

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