By Ana Theresa Williams,BSN,RN
Medical director Dr. Noel Villanueva of Davao Doctors Hospital said glomerulonephritis is not one disease but a group of disorders. It literally means “inflammation of the kidneys.”
Glomerulonephritis is acute if the condition lasts for less than three months and chronic if the condition persists for three months or more, he said.
Also an adult nephrologist by profession, he said the typical acute glomerulonephritis is called post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis which is a complication of a recent throat or skin infection.
“It usually manifests as swelling or hupong or manas of both legs and or face, elevation of blood pressure and bloody or “tea” or “coke-colored” urine.”
The medical specialist said antibiotics are usually given for any residual infection, antihypertensive medicines can be given along with diuretics to remove excess water in the body. Fortunately, this condition is usually self-limiting and will resolve without any residual effects, he said.
Chronic glomerulonephritis, on the other hand, usually lasts for more than three months, will be progressive and irreversible. Patients may experience the same symptoms as acute glomerulonephritis but may be more severe. The cause of the condition is immunologic in nature or the body’s own immune system damages the kidneys, he explained.
He said there is a higher incidence of acute and chronic glomerulonephritis in those who have family history of glomerulonephritis. Therefore, it is advisable that people who experience swelling of the legs, “tea-colored” urine and with hypertension should have a urinalysis and consult a physician, Dr. Villanueva noted.
Treatment for chronic glomerulonephritis may consist of antihypertensive alone or in some cases they may require steroids or other stronger medications to control the immune system.
Some patients may end up on chronic dialysis, if left untreated, or if the kidneys eventually shrink in size, he said.