Chronic glomerulonephritis Medical Definition

Chronic glomerulonephritis: One of a group of kidney diseases characterized by long-term inflammation and scarring of the glomeruli (microscopic structures in the kidney that filter blood and produce urine). This form of kidney disease usually develops slowly (over years) and may not produce symptoms at the outset. When symptoms and signs do appear, they typically include blood in the urine (hematuria), swelling (edema), high blood pressure, foamy urine (due to protein content), and frequent nighttime urination.

A number of different medical conditions can cause chronic glomerulonephritis. Hereditary conditions may be responsible, or immune diseases may be the cause. In many cases, the exact cause is not apparent. Chronic glomerulonephritis may progress to kidney failure in some cases. Hypertension and diabetes are two conditions that typically result in scarring of the glomeruli and decline in kidney function.

There is no specific treatment available. People with chronic glomerulonephritis may be advised to reduce consumption of protein, potassium, and salt; keep high blood pressure under control; and to take calcium supplements. Diuretic medications may be needed to treat swelling.

REFERENCE: Longo, D.L., et al. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2012.

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