Glomerulonephritis means diseased kidneys, and “is the most frequent cause of kidney failure in Australia and elsewhere,” according to one specialist.
Doctors specializing in kidney disorders regard this as a fairly common disease, although the average family doctor will not see very many patients whose symptoms indicate it. In any case, when patients come along with possible symptoms suggesting this disease, they are frequently referred to the specialists who have the facilities to carry out adequate investigation. Today, with major advances in kidney treatment, accurate diagnosis can often be made.
In short, this means that simple tests are inadequate for diagnosing the disease. This will occur when full investigations are carried out in a centre geared for this work.
The most common symptom that will alert the family doctor is a patient whose urine shows the presence of blood and protein. This indicates that damage has occurred to the kidney substance, and warrants further investigation. Over the years a great many classifications of renal disorders have been put forward. Some hold sway for a period of time, to give way to new ideas and new classifications. Some classify the disease according to the results of “renal biopsies.” This means that a patient with symptoms suggestive of kidney disease is subjected to a special test called a “renal biopsy.” A small piece of kidney tissue is removed and examined microscopically by the pathologist, and a diagnosis is made on this basis.
The most likely symptoms that will alert the doctor to renal disease are the presence of blood or protein in the urine. These are readily picked up with simple tests that may be carried out in the surgery.
There may also be edema (swelling of the tissues), which may be related to a throat infection 10 days before, together with other general constitutional symptoms.
There are two types of glomerulobephritis. These are:
- Acute Nephrotic Syndrome (also known as acute glomcrulonephritis).
- The Nephrotic Syndrome.