Glomerulosclerosis

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Glomerulosclerosis is a renal condition in which the glomerulus (glomeruli) of the kidney hardens due to scarring. The kidneys' tiny blood vessels, called glomeruli, become scarred, altering the filtering capacity of the kidneys and allowing protein to leak from the blood into urine.

One of the signs of glomerulosclerosis is proteinuria, which is the loss of protein in the urine. A kidney biopsy may be necessary to determine whether a patient has glomerulosclerosis or another kidney problem. Around 15% of patients with proteinuria turn out to have glomerulosclerosis. One type of glomerulosclerosis is triggered by diabetes. Drug use or infections may cause focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a very chronic kidney condition. FSGS may also occur in patients with AIDS but most are of unknown cause.

Because scarred glomeruli cannot be repaired, most patients with glomerulosclerosis get worse over time until their kidneys stop functioning. This condition is called end-stage renal disease and the patients must begin dialysis treatment or endure a kidney transplant. ESRD may be reached within a year or up to ten or more of diagnosis of glomerulosclerosis but time will vary. Treatments for glomerulosclerosis depend on what caused the scarring of the glomeruli. This is determined by renal biopsy. Immunosuppressants, drugs that suppress the immune system, stop proteinuria in some patients, but once the treatments have ended proteinuria will continue. The drugs may sometimes hurt the patient’s kidneys even more.