Diagnosis

Glomerulonephritis often comes to light when a routine urinalysis is abnormal. Tests to assess your kidney function and make a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis include:

  • Urine test. A urinalysis might show red blood cells and red cell casts in your urine, an indicator of possible damage to the glomeruli. Urinalysis results might also show white blood cells, a common indicator of infection or inflammation, and increased protein, which can 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 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.
Feb. 10, 2017
References
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  2. Glomerulonephritis. National Kidney Foundation. http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/glomerul.cfm. Accessed Oct. 21, 2016.
  3. Hebert LA, et al. Differential diagnosis and evaluation of glomerular disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 21, 2016.
  4. Glomerular diseases. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/glomerular/index.aspx. Accessed Oct. 21, 2016.
  5. Kidney failure: Choosing a treatment that's right for you. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/kidney-disease/kidney-failure-choosing-a-treatment-thats-right-for-you/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed Oct. 21, 2016.
  6. Monga D, et al. Glomeruler diseases and cancer. American Society of Nephrology. https://www.asn-online.org/education/distancelearning/curricula/onco/. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
  7. Aslam N (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.