Glomerulonephritis – A quick guide

Written by: Professor Jeremy Levy
Published: | Updated: 06/08/2023
Edited by: Cal Murphy

There are a wide variety of diseases which can cause damage in the kidney, often by causing inflammation, and which may be limited just to the kidneys or involve the whole body. These are called glomerulonephritis, and there are many types.


Renowned consultant nephrologist, Professor Jeremy Levy, is here to give us the facts.



Symptoms of glomerulonephritis


The different varieties of glomerulonephritis almost always cause the kidneys to leak blood or protein into the urine, which is detected by a urine test. This is often the first or only sign, and is not usually visible. Many patients have no symptoms at all initially.


When symptoms do occur, they can include classic symptoms of nephropathy:


If affecting more than the kidneys, the following symptoms can also manifest:


Nephrotic syndrome


In severe cases of glomerulonephritis, large amounts of protein can leak from the kidneys into the urine. This can cause oedema (swelling) in the legs and in other parts of the body, also known as nephrotic syndrome.



Diagnosing glomerulonephritis


A diagnosis requires blood and urine tests, an ultrasound scan, and sometimes a kidney biopsy (a small sample is taken out from one kidney through a needle under local anaesthetic).


Treating the problem


Depending on the type of glomerulonephritis, treatment is almost always needed in the form of medications, ranging from simple blood pressure treatments (as with several kidney disease treatments, such as for polycystic kidney disease) to stronger drugs which suppress the body's immune system.


Treatment might be needed for many months or years, or even lifelong, depending on the precise disease. These treatments require close monitoring.


A healthy diet is important, as is exercise. Most of these diseases can be very effectively treated if caught early and the right treatment is chosen. Without treatment, patients can end up with kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant.



Professor Jeremy Levy is a highly regarded consultant nephrologist with over 30 years' experience.


If you are experiencing symptoms of glomerulonephritis, don't hesitate to book an appointment with Professor Levy via his Top Doctors profile today.

By Professor Jeremy Levy

Professor Jeremy Levy is a highly distinguished consultant nephrologist based in London who specialises in the treatment and management of all aspects of kidney diseases, including chronic kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy), HIV and kidney disease, polycystic kidney disease (APKD), proteinuria and nephrotic syndrome. In addition to hypertension, he is also an expert in immune-mediated renal diseases, such as vasculitis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Professor Levy currently sees patients at Charing Cross Hospital, Imperial Private Healthcare.

Professor Levy qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1989 and completed his nephrology training in London and Oxford. He then obtained a PhD in renal immunology from Imperial College London in 1999 and later became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2004. Following this, Professor Levy was appointed consultant nephrologist and physician at Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals (Imperial College Healthcare) and at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where he leads the renal service.

Besides his nephrology practice, Professor Levy is actively involved in research and medical education, invited to teach worldwide, including for the International Society of Nephrology and European Renal Association. He is the author of textbooks on dialysis and nephrology, including the Oxford Handbook of Dialysis, and is professor of practice (Medicine) at Imperial College, London, where he additionally serves as director of clinical academic training. Previously, Professor Levy chaired the UK Renal Association Education and Training Committee. Additionally, Professor Levy is the regional speciality advisor for renal medicine for the Royal College of Physicians and supports academic training nationally for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

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Overall assessment of their patients

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