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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

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

At UVA, 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