Specific signs and symptoms may suggest glomerulonephritis, but the condition often comes to light when a routine urinalysis is abnormal. Tests to assess your kidney function and make a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis include:
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- Urine test. A urinalysis may show red blood cells and red cell casts in your urine, an indicator of possible damage to the glomeruli. Urinalysis results may also show white blood cells, a common indicator of infection or inflammation, and increased protein, which may indicate nephron damage. Other indicators, such as increased blood levels of creatinine or urea, are red flags.
- Blood tests. These can provide information about kidney damage and impairment of the glomeruli by measuring levels of waste products, such as creatinine and blood urea nitrogen.
- Imaging tests. If your doctor detects evidence of damage, he or she may recommend diagnostic studies that allow visualization of your kidneys, such as a kidney X-ray, an ultrasound examination or a computerized tomography (CT) scan.
- Kidney biopsy. This procedure involves using a special needle to extract small pieces of kidney tissue for microscopic examination to help determine the cause of the inflammation. A kidney biopsy is almost always necessary to confirm a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis.
- The kidneys and how they work. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/index.aspx. Accessed Nov. 4, 2013.
- Glomerulonephritis. National Kidney Foundation. http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/glomerul.cfm. Accessed Nov. 4, 2013.
- Glomerular diseases. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/glomerular/index.aspx. Accessed Nov. 4, 2013.
- Kumar V, et al. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.
- Hebert LA, et al. Differential diagnosis and evaluation of glomerular disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 4, 2013.
- Taal MW, et al. Brenner & Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 12, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 12, 2013.
- Wyatt RJ, et al. IgA nephropathy. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;368:2402.
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