A slowly progressive disease, chronic glomerulonephritis is characterized by inflammation of the glomeruli, which results in sclerosis, scarring and, eventually, renal failure.
This condition usually remains subclinical until the progressive phase begins, marked by proteinuria, cylindruria (presence of granular tube casts), and hematuria. By the time it produces symptoms, chronic glomerulonephritis is usually irreversible.
Common causes of chronic glomerulonephritis include primary renal disorders, such as membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, membranous glomerulopathy, focal glomerulosclerosis, rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis and, less commonly, poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis.
Systemic disorders that may cause chronic glomerulonephritis include lupus erythematosus, Goodpasture’s syndrome, and diabetes mellitus.
Signs and symptoms
Chronic glomerulonephritis usually develops insidiously and asymptomatically, commonly over many years. It may suddenly become progressive at any time, producing nephrotic syndrome, hypertension, proteinuria, and hematuria.