What is glomerulonephritis? Glomerulonephritis is an inflammatory disease of the kidneys, specifically the glomeruli. The glomeruli are the part of the kidneys in charge of filtering waste from the bloodstream. Glomeruli can become inflamed for a variety of reasons. Once inflamed, the glomeruli cannot filter waste properly and become leaky, which allows protein and blood to pass into the urine. Symptoms of glomerulonephritis include blood in the urine, foamy urine, and edema (swelling) of the legs, abdomen and body. As the disease progresses and the kidneys become more damaged, additional symptoms may appear, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, aches, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. Toward the end stages of the disease, more serious symptoms can occur, such as excessive urination, nosebleeds, bloody stool, and vomiting blood. Glomerulonephritis can even progress to kidney (renal) failure. While glomerulonephritis can happen to anyone, it most frequently occurs in people who have diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or certain genetic disorders. It can occur rapidly or it may develop very slowly over the course of years. Glomerulonephritis can cause high blood pressure, which often leads to its diagnosis. Treatment for glomerulonephritis includes blood pressure medication, steroids, and immunosuppressant drugs. Plasmapheresis (to remove antibodies against glomeruli from the blood), dialysis, or a kidney transplant may also become necessary depending upon the cause and severity of the condition. Changes in diet may also help to alleviate symptoms. In some cases, glomerulonephritis may reverse spontaneously; in others, it may become life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms of glomerulonephritis, such as difficulty breathing, uncontrollable nosebleed, bloody stool, or vomiting blood. Seek prompt medical care if you have persistent or bothersome symptoms of glomerulonephritis.