Unlike an acute kidney injury (AKI), where the loss of kidney function may be reversible, chronic kidney disease is “progressive.” That means it gets worse over time. The damage to your kidneys causes scars and is permanent. Among the diseases that can cause CKD are diabetes, hypertension, glomerulonephritis and polycystic kidney disease. This post looks at glomerulonephritis.
Very Well Health’s recent article, “Causes and Risk Factors of Chronic Kidney Disease,” explains that glomerulonephritis is a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the glomeruli and nephrons. Glomerulonephritis usually affects both kidneys and can happen alone or as part of another disease.
While it’s often hard to pinpoint what triggered the inflammatory response, the causes can be broadly broken down as follows:
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a group of diseases that cause the selective scarring of glomeruli
- Autoimmune disorders, which either damage the kidneys directly (IgA nephropathy or granulomatosis with polyangiitis) or trigger whole-body inflammation that indirectly damages the kidneys (such as with lupus); and
- Inherited disorders like polycystic kidney disease, which causes the formation of cysts in the kidneys; Alport syndrome, which damages the blood vessels of the kidneys; or Goodpasture syndrome, which damages kidney membranes.
In some cases, the cause of glomerulonephritis is never found. There are also other, less common causes of CKD in adults and children. They include the following:
- Heavy metal poisoning, including lead poisoning;
- Hemolytic-uremic syndrome, in which ruptured red blood cells block renal filters (occurs exclusively in children);
- Hepatitis B and hepatitis C, both of which are associated with glomerulonephritis and renal vascular inflammation;
- Interstitial nephritis, inflammation of the kidney tubules often related to the long-term use of analgesics or antibiotics;
- Pyelonephritis, a bacterial infection of the kidneys;
- Prolonged urinary tract obstruction, including an enlarged prostate, kidney stones and certain cancers;
- Recurrent kidney infections; and
- Reflux nephropathy, the backing-up of urine into the bladder.
In addition to known causes, CKD can often be idiopathic, meaning the cause can’t be found.
Reference: Very Well Health (July 25, 2021) “Causes and Risk Factors of Chronic Kidney Disease”