Glomerulosclerosis is the term used to describe scarring that occurs within the kidneys in the small balls of tiny blood vessels called the glomeruli. The glomeruli assist the kidneys in filtering urine from the blood.
Glomerulosclerosis may develop in children or adults, and may result from different types of kidney conditions as well as diabetes.
Early stages of glomerulosclerosis may not cause any symptoms. The most important warning sign of glomerular disease is proteinuria - large amounts of protein in the urine - which is usually discovered during a routine medical examination. However, the loss of large amounts of protein could cause swelling in the ankles or accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.
Scarring disrupts the filtering process of the kidneys allowing protein to leak from the blood into the urine.
Because glomerulosclerosis is just one of many possible causes of proteinuria, a kidney biopsy may be needed to determine if the cause is actually glomerulosclerosis. About 7 percent to 15 percent of people with proteinuria are diagnosed with glomerulosclerosis.
Specific treatment for glomerulosclerosis will be determined by your physician based on:
your age, overall health, and medical history
extent of the disease
your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
expectations for the course of the disease
your opinion or preference
Scarred glomeruli cannot be repaired. The best treatment for glomerulosclerosis depends upon what caused the scarring, as determined by a kidney biopsy. Treatment may include:
immunosuppressant drugs (to block the body's immune system)
dialysis - a medical treatment to remove wastes and additional fluid from the blood after the kidneys have stopped functioning.
kidney transplantation - a procedure that places a healthy kidney from one person into a recipient's body.
blood pressure medication
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