glomerulonephritis (Bright’s disease)

Form of kidney inflammation that affects the glomeruli (blood filters) of both kidneys, usually as a result of an immune reaction. After inflammation elsewhere in the body in an autoimmune disease (condition in which the body produces antibodies that act against its own tissue and substances) or if antibodies are formed against certain medicines, the antibodies may combine with the substances they are attacking and form a deposit in the glomeruli, and damage them. Other disorders, such as diabetes mellitus, can also cause glomerulonephritis. Acute glomerulonephritis occurs particularly in children, usually after tonsillitis, caused by streptococci. The condition can also occur after the use of certain medicines, starting two weeks after they have been taken, sometimes causing no difficulties. In severe cases urine production declines, blood appears in the urine (uraemia) and tissue swells through fluid accumulation (oedema), particularly in the face. Recovery is complete in most cases, but the condition sometimes persists – particularly in adults – and becomes chronic, leading to progressive damage to the kidneys and eventual kidney failure.

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