Nephritis (kidney inflammation) is most often caused by autoimmune diseases that affect the kidney, though it also can result from infection. It can affect people of all ages, although its cause differs depending on whether children or adults are affected.

Symptoms of Nephritis

Although some patients may not not have any symptoms, many patients with nephritis may notice one or more of the following:

  • Swelling
  • Protein in the urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Reduced frequency of urination
  • Rash
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness

High blood pressure can also be a symptom of nephritis.

Diagnosis of Nephritis

Nephritis is diagnosed by a complete review of systems, physical examination, and additional testing that may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Kidney biopsy
  • Imaging studies

Treatment for Nephritis

Treatment for nephritis focuses on reducing inflammation and treating the underlying cause. Depending on the type of nephritis and the severity of disease, treatments may include:

  • Limiting salt, potassium and protein in the diet
  • Reducing fluid intake
  • Immunosuppressive medications
  • Medication to control high blood pressure

In severe cases, dialysis may be needed temporarily or permanently if the patient develops acute kidney failure.

Additional Resources