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Glomerulonephritis (GN)

Glomerulonephritis (GN) refers to a group of diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the parts of the kidney that filter blood (called glomeruli).
There are many different types of GN, but the most common ones include: 
  • IgA nephropathy
  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)
  • Minimal change disease
  • ANCA-associated vasculitis
  • Lupus nephritis, and
  • Membranous nephropathy. 
Since each type of GN is quite rare, we are still learning more about what causes these diseases. Often it is related to the body’s immune system becoming overactive, which in turn creates inflammation and damages the kidneys. 

BC Renal is the primary organization that funds, coordinates and implements health care for kidney patients, including people living with GN, across British Columbia.


Learn more

This section provides some general information about glomerulonephritis and the treatment options available. For more detailed information about specific GN diseases please visit the tab Resources.

The signs of GN may include:


  • Swelling (edema) in the feet, legs, and other areas including face, hands, and belly.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension), which is detected by measuring with a blood pressure cuff.
  • Protein in the urine (proteinuria), which can create frothy or bubbly urine.
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria) can be a small amount only detectable on urine testing, or it may make the urine look red or dark tea-coloured.

Treating GN can help preserve kidney function and improve overall health. 


Once a person is diagnosed with GN, they will receive care from a doctor who specializes in kidney disease (nephrologist), as well as other members of a care team (e.g., nurses, social workers).


As GN is caused by the immune system and related inflammation, medication is often required to reduce immune activity. It is important that people living with GN maintain overall health, especially when it comes to managing blood pressure, swelling, and cholesterol. Your kidney care team can help develop an individualized treatment plan for you.


For individuals and their loved ones in BC who are living with GN, the sections on this page provide links to additional information and resources on GN and how it is managed. In the near future, we will be adding information on how to find support and connect with other people in BC facing a similar life situation.



Resources

This section provides detailed information on the specific GN diseases, diagnosis process and treatment options, etc.

 

Connect

BC Renal and the GN Committee are continuously looking for ways to better connect with kidney patients and their family members and caregivers. We are currently working on developing new engagement channels and opportunities for patients and their families – visit this section periodically to stay updated on this effort.

Current opportunity: patient partner

Patient partners of BC Renal contribute in various ways within our provincial renal network. This includes designing, planning, implementing and evaluating our kidney care services with a committee or working group for a set term. They may also participate in one-time activities such as surveys, focus groups and interviews.

If you are interested in joining BC Renal as a patient partner, please visit the BC Renal patient engagement page or contact our Patient Engagement team directly at patientengagement@bcrenal.ca.

Research studies and clinical trials

There may also be opportunities to take part in research studies or clinical trials evaluating new treatments for GN. Ask your care team if you want to learn more about this. Information about current BC Renal clinical trials can be found here.

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