Damaged Kidney Function

When working correctly, your kidneys filter waste and excess fluids from your body. Blood enters your kidneys through arteries that branch into tiny clusters of blood vessels. Each of these clusters is called a glomerulus, and your body contains about a million per kidney. More than one glomerulus is called glomeruli.

If your glomeruli are damaged, it reduces your kidneys' ability to filter toxins from your bloodstream into your urine. Instead, your kidneys discard needed blood and red blood cells and retain toxins. In severe cases, the condition could lead to kidney failure.

Glomerular diseases may stem from an infection that affects your kidneys or an underlying condition like high blood pressure, lupus or diabetes.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

The symptoms of glomerular disease include:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • Foamy urine indicating the presence of protein
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling

Diagnosis of glomerular disease is made with several tests, including:

  • Blood tests to measure waste products and determine if your kidneys’ filtering ability is working correctly.
  • CT scan to provide a detailed view of your kidneys, rule out causes for blood in your urine and guide a kidney biopsy if needed.
  • Kidney biopsy to confirm glomerular disease and identify its cause.
  • Urinalysis to verify and measure the level of protein and red blood cells in your urine.

If left untreated, glomerular disease may prevent your kidneys from filtering properly. In severe cases, it may lead to kidney failure.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Comprehensive Care from Skilled Clinicians

The experts at Penn State Health offer advanced treatments for glomerular diseases.

Our team of nephrologists, in collaboration with the Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania, has received national recognition and research funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for providing peer mentoring that actively engages you in your care to help improve your quality of life. Our Glomerulonephritis Clinic offers coordinated care that addresses all the health challenges caused by your kidney disease.

For four consecutive years, we’ve been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a high-performing specialty. Our medical team is consistently recognized nationally through Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors awards. Our specialists also participate in worldwide conferences and speaking engagements in countries including India, Korea, Germany, Japan and others.

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