The kidneys remove toxins from our bodies using tiny structures called nephrons. Each nephron contains a cluster of blood vessels called a “glomerulus” that functions as a filter, separating excess waste, fluid, and electrolytes from your blood. In rare cases, these blood vessels can be damaged by a variety of causes, including abnormalities in the immune system, genetic conditions, infection, and medications. This disrupts the kidneys’ ability to remove waste, which can lead to other complications such as high blood pressure or kidney failure. This problem is called glomerulonephritis, which although rare, can be very serious.
“Treatment for glomerulonephritis needs to be started very early,” says Jeffrey Turner, MD, a nephrologist at Yale Medicine. “It should be on the top of the list of conditions a doctor should rule out if they’re looking at a patient with similar symptoms.”