Glomerulonephritis is a type renal disease that is characterized by inflammation of the glomeruli as the kidney capacity for filtering toxic waste and fluid from blood becomes damaged. Although glomerulonephritis can be caused by specific problems with the body's immune system, the precise cause of glomerulonephritis is often unknown. It may present as a nephrotic syndrome, acute renal failure, or chronic renal failure. Primary causes are ones which are intrinsic to the kidney, while secondary causes are associated with certain infections caused by bacterial, viral or parasitic pathogens.
The kidneys can be severely damaged before any symptoms appear. Evidence of glomerulonephritis may include: 1) noticeable swelling of the face, hands, feet, and ankles; 2) fatigue; high blood pressure; 3) blood and protein in the urine, which is a sign of damage to the glomeruli.
The condition may develop quickly, with loss of kidney function occurring over weeks and months; this called rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis.
Acute glomerulonephritis is a specific set of kidney diseases in which an immunologic mechanism triggers inflammation and proliferation of glomerular tissue that can result in damage to the basement membrane, mesangium, or capillary endothelium.