- Nephritis vs Nephrosis
- Symptoms and Signs
What is nephritis vs. nephrosis?
Nephritis and nephrosis are both kidney conditions that require medical attention. Both conditions refer to problems with your kidney. If you have either of these conditions, it means that your kidneys are not working as they should. This interferes with your body's detoxing process and can be fatal.
Knowing the difference between symptoms and warning signs of these two kidney conditions can help you get the right treatment. Below, you’ll discover how to identify the signs and get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
What is nephritis
Nephritis is also known as glomerulonephritis, and is a condition that causes inflammation (swelling) of your kidneys. This makes it difficult for your body to filter the waste from your blood.
There are multiple types of nephritis. It can be either acute or chronic. Chronic nephritis happens silently over several years and is a leading cause of kidney failure. Acute nephritis develops suddenly and could be linked to throat or skin infections that require antibiotics. Acute nephritis can lead to chronic nephritis later on.
What is nephrosis
Nephrosis is also called nephrotic syndrome, and is caused by a variety of diseases. These attacks on your body lead to your kidneys being unable to prevent proteins from leaking into your urine.
Nephrosis is a condition that describes multiple symptoms which indicate your kidneys are not working like they should. They are no longer filtering to keep protein in your blood and fat or cholesterol out of your blood.
What are symptoms and signs of nephritis vs. nephrosis?
Nephritis and nephrosis both indicate serious kidney conditions, but they have some differing symptoms. There are also some shared symptoms, and you may not have all of them at once. Some symptoms may occur suddenly, and sometimes you may not have any symptoms while the condition is developing.
Symptoms of nephritis
Nephritis can occur suddenly or develop silently over time. These symptoms could lead to kidney damage or failure. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you’re experiencing them. Symptoms of nephritis include:
- Blood and protein in your urine
- High blood pressure
- Swelling or puffiness in your face, hands, feet, and/or legs
Chronic nephritis may occur with or without symptoms, but early signs, in addition to the symptoms listed above, may include:
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Very bubbly or foamy urine
Symptoms of nephrosis
Nephrosis is not a specific kidney disease, but rather can happen during any kidney disease that damages your kidneys’ ability to filter waste. There are other diseases that can cause nephrosis which include diabetes and lupus.
If you have nephrosis, you may experience the following symptoms:
What are causes of nephritis vs. nephrosis?
There are multiple causes of nephritis and nephrosis. Nephritis is a disease and nephrosis is a collection of symptoms, and their causes can differ.
Causes of nephritis
Nephritis can be caused by infections like strep throat or other illnesses like lupus, Goodpasture syndrome, Wegener’s disease. Noticing the warning signs and getting an early diagnosis and treatment help prevent future kidney failure.
Chronic nephritis can be hereditary. In some cases, the condition has been seen in multiple members of the same family. In other cases, you may develop chronic nephritis years after an acute attack.
Other causes include:
- Reaction to certain medicines, like antibiotics
- Too much of certain medicines, like diuretics or pain relievers like acetaminophen or aspirin
- Imbalance in your nutrient levels, like having too little potassium or too much calcium
- Autoimmune disorders, like Kawasaki disease
Causes of nephrosis
Nephrosis is primarily caused by diseases and conditions that only affect the kidneys. These include focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and membranous nephropathy. In FSGS, scar tissues form in the kidney. However, it can also be caused by conditions like diabetes or lupus.
Less common causes of nephrosis include venous thromboembolism, acute renal failure, or a serious bacterial infection.
How to diagnose nephritis vs. nephrosis
For either condition, you may or may not experience early warning signs and symptoms. In some cases, you may not know you have nephritis or nephrosis until your kidneys have faced serious damage. Nephritis is often found during routine health checks by looking at your blood pressure, a blood test for kidney function, and a urine test for protein or blood in your urine.
A doctor will diagnose nephrosis after finding large amounts of protein in your urine. They can discover this with a urine test. In some cases, your doctor may request a kidney biopsy. This is a procedure that involves taking a piece of your kidney tissue for examination under a microscope. Your doctor can perform this and may send it off to a lab for diagnosis.
Treatments of nephritis vs. nephrosis
Acute nephritis may go away on its own, or your condition might require medication or treatment. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, but not to treat your nephritis. Antibiotics are used to treat the bacterial infection that may cause your condition.
If your condition worsens, your doctor can order a dialysis to filter out harmful proteins from your blood.
If you have chronic nephritis your doctor may suggest:
- You eat less protein, salt, and potassium
- Control your blood pressure
- Take diuretics for swelling
- Take calcium supplements
To treat nephrosis, you will first need to address the underlying cause of your nephrotic syndrome symptoms. Your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol and recommend dietary changes. Nephrosis may go away if you treat the underlying cause successfully.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Family Physician: "Nephrotic Syndrome in Adults: Diagnosis and Management."
American Kidney Fund: "Nephrotic syndrome."
familydoctor.org: "Interstitial Nephritis."
Kidney Health: "Nephritis."
National Cancer Institute: "Nephritis."
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Problems: "Nephrotic Syndrome in Adults."
National Kidney Foundation: "Nephrotic Syndrome."
National Kidney Foundation: "What is Glomerulonephritis?"
The New England Journal of Medicine: "What is Nephrosis?"
Top Difference Between Nephritis and Nephrosis Related Articles
Diabetes and Kidney DiseaseIn the United States diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. High blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose increase the risk that a person with diabetes will eventually progress to kidney failure. Kidney disease in people with diabetes develops over the course of many years. albumin and eGFR are two key markers for kidney disease in people with diabetes. Controlling high blood pressure, blood pressure medications, a moderate protein diet, and compliant management of blood glucose can slow the progression of kidney disease. For those patients who's kidneys eventually fail, dialysis or kidney transplantation is the only option.
Hydronephrosis describes swelling of the kidney resulting from the inability of urine to drain from the kidney into the bladder. This may be a normal variant or it may be due to an underlying illness or medical condition. Symptoms of acute hydronephrosis may include:
- intense flank or back pain radiating to the groin,
- bloody urine,
- sweating, and
- colicky pain, which may cause the person to writhe or roll around or pace in pain.
Hypertension-Induced Chronic Kidney DiseaseHypertension-induced chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-standing kidney condition that develops over time due to persistent or uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension).
Is Severe Hydronephrosis Serious?Severe hydronephrosis can increase the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI associated with high fever leads to kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
Hypertensive Kidney DiseaseHigh blood pressure can damage the kidneys and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (end-stage renal kidney disease). Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. If you have kidney disease, you should control your blood pressure. Other treatment options include prescription medications.
Kidney Disease QuizKidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney disease and what foods to eat and avoid!
Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) usually is caused by E. coli and other bacteria that have spread from the bladder from a UTI (urinary tract infection), poor hygiene, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, catheter, cystoscope exam, surgery, kidney stones, or prostate enlargement. Symptoms of kidney infection include back pain, frequent urination, pain during urination, fever, and or pus or blood in the urine. Kidney infection can be cured with antibiotic treatment. Cranberry juice may prevent UTIs, but that hasn’t been proven in all research studies.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is characterized by numerous cysts in the kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder. There are two major inherited forms of PKD, autosomal dominant PKD, and autosomal recessive PKD. Symptoms include headaches, urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, liver and pancreatic cysts, abnormal heart valves, high blood pressure, kidney stones, aneurysms, and diverticulosis. Diagnosis of PKD is generally with ultrasound, CT or MRI scan. There is no cure for PKD, so treatment of symptoms is usually the general protocol.
What Are the Signs That Something Is Wrong With My Kidneys?Most of the signs of kidney diseases are unnoticed, ignored, or appear very late in the disease. Over 37 million American adults have kidney diseases, and most are not aware of it.
What Are the 5 Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?The doctor will take your complete medical history along with your family history, such as if anyone in your family has or had diabetes, whether you are on any medications (that can cause kidney damage), and so on. They will perform a thorough physical examination to see if you have any signs or symptoms of CKD.
What Surgery Is Done for Hydronephrosis?Hydronephrosis refers to the swelling of the kidney caused by the collection of urine. Surgery would be recommended only in the most severe cases. The goal of the surgery is to reduce swelling and pressure in the kidney by establishing a free flow of the urine.