Inflammation and dysfunction of glomeruli, the tiny filters in kidneys is called glomerulonephritis. Parents should know the causes and symptoms of glomerulonephritis in children as the condition requires prompt medical treatment.
The glomerulus (plural is glomeruli) is a tiny blood vessel in the nephron which actually filters the blood during urine formation. Glomeruli are microscopic filters in the kidneys. Inflammation of these tiny glomeruli is termed as glomerulonephritis. Glomerulonephritis in children can be acute or chronic.
Causes of Glomerulonephritis in Kids
Children belonging to the age group of 6-10 and young adults are more likely to suffer from glomerulonephritis. A sudden or gradual inflammation of glomeruli can cause damage to the glomeruli. A sudden inflammation of glomeruli in children is referred to as acute glomerulonephritis. When such condition develops gradually, it is referred to as chronic glomerulonephritis. Acute glomerulonephritis is usually noticed a week or two after a throat infection.
The symptoms of acute glomerulonephritis are usually mild. When the disease develops over some years, the symptoms tend to be severe. Many times, it is noticed three to four weeks after a skin infection. Exact cause of glomerulonephritis is not known. An impairment of the immune system, bacterial throat infection or a streptococcal infection in the upper respiratory tract (known as APSGN, or Acute Poststreptococcal Glomerulonephritis), skin infection, can lead to glomerulonephritis.
Malaria, autoimmune disease like systemic lupus erythematosus, some arterial diseases or genetic diseases can cause glomerulonephritis. Chronic glomerulonephritis is seen in patients of diabetes or hepatitis. Inhalation of toxins can also cause glomerulonephritis.
Glomerulonephritis needs to be treated properly and immediately. Untreated glomerulonephritis can lead to kidney failure. So, recognizing the glomerulonephritis symptoms, especially in children, as they may not be able to describe the symptoms correctly.
Symptoms of Glomerulonephritis in Kids
- Less urination
- Sore throat
- Weight loss
- Brown and foamy urine
- Red strings of blood in urine
- Excessive tiredness, lethargy, sleepiness
- Difficulty breathing
- Joint pain
- High blood pressure
- Itching sensation
- Nausea, loss of appetite
- Lack of concentration, confusion
- Skin rash
- Pale skin
- Fluid accumulation in tissues, edema
Urine and blood tests help diagnose glomerulonephritis. Throat swabs and ultrasound of kidneys also help detect glomerulonephritis. In some cases, biopsies are performed for correct diagnosis. Widespread use of antibiotics has reduced the chances of APSGN. Treatment may vary according to the cause and intensity of the ailment. Age and overall health of the patient is also taken into consideration while designing the treatment.
Diuretics help increase urination. Antibiotics, steroids and other medications help enhance the function of the immune system. There is no cure for chronic glomerulonephritis and the treatment is mainly focused at reducing the complications. The treatment is so designed that it helps the kidneys function without fail. The treatment needs to be continued for life. Patients are asked to follow a low protein diet.
The diet needs to be low in sodium and potassium. A complete bed-rest and limited intake of fluids helps improve the condition. There are chances of kidney failure in severe cases. Complications may result in hypertension, high protein levels in the urine, high blood cholesterol, and edema. A kidney transplant or kidney dialysis may be required then. So it is necessary to take precautions and manage the disorder with prompt treatment.
Kidneys filter the blood and help maintain the balance of electrolytes like calcium, sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. Kidney diseases can therefore seriously affect functioning of the body. Glomerulonephritis needs prompt medical attention. Patients need to follow the instructions of the doctor religiously.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.