What is Nephropathy?

Nephropathy is any condition of the kidney that causes damage to the organ. It can occur as a result of an infection or injury, and it can range from mild to severe. The most common types of nephropathy are glomerulonephritis, diabetic nephropathy, and lupus nephritis.

Signs and Symptoms of Nephropathy

Symptoms of nephropathy vary depending on the cause, but can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in the face, hands, or feet
  • Decreased urination or urine output
  • Fluid retention
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Foamy urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches

Causes of Nephropathy

The most common causes of nephropathy include:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney damage.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure can damage the kidney and cause nephropathy.
  • Obstructive uropathy: Obstructive uropathy is an obstruction in the urinary tract that can lead to damage in the kidney.
  • Drugs: Some drugs (such as pain relievers and antibiotics) can damage the kidney.
  • Infections: Viral or bacterial infections can cause nephropathy.
  • Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can cause damage to the kidney.

Diagnosis of Nephropathy

Your doctor may use one or more tests to diagnose nephropathy, such as:

  • Urine test: A urine test can detect any abnormal levels of proteins, such as albumin (a sign of kidney damage).
  • Blood test: A blood test can detect any abnormalities in the kidney function.
  • Imaging tests: Your doctor may order imaging tests (such as a CT scan or MRI) to further evaluate any changes in the kidneys.
  • Kidney biopsy: A kidney biopsy can be used to detect any structural or functional changes in the kidney.

Treatment of Nephropathy

Treatment for nephropathy depends on the cause, but may include:

  • Medication: Your doctor may prescribe medications to address any underlying issues (such as diabetes or high blood pressure) that are causing the kidney damage.
  • Kidney transplant: In some cases, a kidney transplant may be necessary to treat nephropathy.
  • Dialysis: Dialysis is a procedure used to filter the blood when the kidneys are unable to do so.
  • Lifestyle changes: Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes (such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly) to help protect the kidneys.