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BABY AND CHILDHOOD URINARY TRACT DISORDERS: CHRONIC NEPHRITIS

Chronic nephritis, or chronic glomerulonephritis, means that the kidneys are damaged, and that blood and protein are found in the urine as a result. It may follow on from an acute attack, or it may simply appear for no apparent reason. Sometimes it may flare up after recurring throat infections by the streptococcal germ.

There may be few, if any, symptoms at all in the early stages, until suddenly the kidneys fail. Tell-tale symptoms that all is not well include weakness, early tiredness, vomiting, headaches and restlessness, muscle cramps and probably twitching movements, drowsiness, mental disorientation and confusion. There may be swelling in the lower limbs (called oedema) and elevated blood pressure.

Tests carried out by the doctor will show that blood and protein are present in the urine, often in large amounts, which indicate the kidney system is severely impaired. Various tests that check the kidneys also indicate that they are diseased.

Treatment

Once the condition has been diagnosed, the patient may be admitted to hospital where full facilities for treatment are available. The course is a variable one, and close medical supervision for a long time may be necessary.

Parents must be alert for symptoms that indicate kidney infections and disease, for the sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment started the better.

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