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Glomerulonephritis involves damage or inflammation of the glomeruli, which are tiny blood vessels that help the kidneys filter blood.

There are two types of glomerulonephritis:

  • Acute glomerulonephritis (begins suddenly)
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis (develops gradually, over years)


Glomerulonephritis can be caused by:

  • Streptococcal infections, including strep throat and impetigo
  • Systemic autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
  • Other systemic diseases, such as Henoch-Schönlein purpura, polyarteritis nodosa, or Wegener vasculitis
  • Alport syndrome

Lauren's Puzzle Solved

Lauren Davidson's breathing issues were getting serious. But, soon after seeing our pediatric kidney care team, she was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA). For Lauren's mom, coming to UVA Health Children's was "the best decision we ever made." View Lauren's transcript.

Symptoms of Glomerulonephritis

The most common symptoms your child may exhibit include:

  • Dark-colored urine (from blood and protein)
  • Decreased urination frequency
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure (which can result in seizures)
  • Rash on the lower body
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Pale or discolored skin
  • Swelling in the face, feet, ankles or other parts of the body (resulting from fluid buildup)

Diagnosis and Treatment at UVA Health Children's

At UVA Health Children's, your child’s doctor may perform or recommend:

  • Throat culture
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Kidney ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • Kidney biopsy

Treatment will depend on the cause of the glomerulonephritis. Treatment may include:

  • Fluid restriction and special diet
  • Medication to control urination, protein level, blood pressure or blood phosphate
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Dialysis