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Glomerular Disease

Did you know that certain diseases can cause damage to a crucial network of blood vessels in your kidneys? These tiny vessels, called glomeruli, act as a microscopic cleaning crew to keep your kidneys healthy. When they are damaged, it can result in a condition known as glomerular disease. It is important to take care of your kidneys and be aware of the potential risks that can cause damage to these vital blood vessels.

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Keeping your kidneys clean

The glomerulus is a cluster of tiny filters located in the kidney. Its primary function is to purify the blood by removing toxins and filtering waste and fluids, which eventually leads to the production of urine. If you suffer from kidney disease that damages these filters, blood may leak through your kidneys and mix with your urine. 

This condition is known as glomerular disease, which is a common cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD can adversely affect other systems in your body, which makes it crucial to diagnose and detect this condition early. Our team has access to the latest research and knowledge to provide you with the best care possible.

Ray Comenzo, MD (Director of Blood Bank, Transfusion and Stem Cell Services at Tufts Medical Center) talking to and examining patient during an appointment with aphoresis equipment.
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Many kidney diseases affect the glomerulus, which can be detected by testing your urine for the presence of red blood cells and high levels of protein. Also, a test to measure kidney function called estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is often used to detect glomerular disease.

There are two main types of glomerular disease: 


Glomerulonephritis is inflammation of your glomeruli. This can cause blood and protein to leak in your urine and reduce kidney function.

Nephrotic syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is when the protein leakage in your urine is severe enough to cause low albumin levels in your blood. This can result in complications such as kidney failure, blood clotting, abnormal swelling and elevated lipids.



Your doctor may suggest a series of tests to identify the type and cause of your kidney disease. These tests may include blood and urine tests to check for any abnormalities, an ultrasound or CT scan to capture images of your kidneys, and a biopsy to collect a sample of kidney tissue to investigate the presence of glomerular disease. The tests conducted may vary depending on your specific condition, including:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • CT scan
  • Collect a biopsy (a sample of cells)


While treatments vary depending on the cause of the kidney disease, you may benefit from medications that improve swelling, control blood pressure and stop protein loss in urine, changes in what you eat or drink and medications to suppress inflammation in the glomeruli. These treatments can slow down or halt the progression of kidney disease. Common ways to manage glomerular disease include:

  • Medications to manage swelling
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Medications to stop protein loss in urine
  • Medication to suppress the immune system
  • Dietary changes

Second opinions

Our doctors will take the time to carefully review your prior diagnosis, medical records, laboratory tests, imaging and any biopsy results. We can also ask our pathologists directly to review your kidney biopsy.

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