This is an inflammation of BOTH kidneys, usually affecting school age children and teenagers, characterized by one or more of the following:
- Often there has been an infection within the past month.
- Urine color may be dark, tea colored, or brown
- Swelling, particularly of the face, due to less urine than normal being produced (water is retained)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- The urine will test positive for both blood & protein
- Blood tests may demonstrate reduced kidney function & evidence of exposure to strep or some other infection
- Blood concentration of complement (C3) is characteristically low if acute nephritis follows strep infection
Hospitalization may be required if blood pressure is high &/or if kidney function is significantly reduced.
NO specific treatment will help the kidneys recover faster.
- The child is to be maintained on a low salt diet (to help high blood pressure & minimize swelling)
- Blood pressure should be measured frequently
- The child should weighed at least daily, to judge how much fluid is accumulating
- A “water pill” may be used to help the child make more urine, thus reducing swelling & blood pressure
Course & Outcome:
- Within several days:
- The urine will be gradually lighter in color
- Swelling will improve as more urine is produced
- Hypertension will improve
- Kidney function, as measured by blood tests, will improve
- Within a few weeks, the urine will no longer test positive for protein
- Within a few months, red blood cells, as seen under the microscope, will disappear from the urine
- Almost all children with uncomplicated acute nephritis have an excellent outcome, with no permanent kidney damage
Should this not be the case, a kidney biopsy may be required to determine if chronic nephritis, a more serious condition, is present.