Bright's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment (2023)

  • Overview
  • Acute and Chronic
  • How common is glomerulonephritis?
  • Symptoms of glomerulonephritis
  • Causes of glomerulonephritis (GN)
  • Diagnosis
  • Lifestyle management for glomerulonephritis
  • Treatment of glomerulonephritis
  • Can glomerulonephritis be prevented?
  • When to visit a doctor?
  • The lowdown

Bright’s disease is a historic name for a group of diseases that causes inflammation of the glomeruli. To understand what glomeruli are, you should first know that the kidney has around one million “nephrons,” which are structural organ units. In these nephrons are tubes (so tiny that they are called tubules).

The tubules are responsible for transporting substances the body needs, such as nutrients, once the blood has been filtered by the glomeruli. Glomeruli are groups of capillaries or blood vessels found at the end of a tubule.

The role of glomeruli is to remove excess fluids, salts, and toxins from the blood. When the glomeruli are damaged, your kidney may stop functioning well. Serious damage to the glomeruli may result in kidney failure.

Bright's disease is also known as glomerulonephritis. Nephritis is a simple way of referring to the disease. Your physician may abbreviate the disease as GN (glomerulonephritis).

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Acute and Chronic

Bright's disease has two types: acute glomerulonephritis and chronic glomerulonephritis. Acute glomerulonephritis starts suddenly (for example, deteriorating kidney function within a few weeks). Chronic glomerulonephritis can either start slowly or be the consequence of acute glomerulonephritis.

How common is glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is one of the main causes of kidney failure in the U.S. It causes between 10% and 15%¹ of kidney failure cases. The disease is so common that it accounts for up to 10% of patients in dialysis.

Symptoms of glomerulonephritis

The type of Bright's disease determines the nature and severity of the symptoms that you may experience. The symptoms that you may observe are;

I.Acute Bright's disease

In the early stages, your symptoms may include:

  • Reduced urination frequency

  • New high blood pressure or worsening of previous high blood pressure

  • Coughing caused by extra fluid in the lungs

  • Blood in urine

    (Video) Glomerulonephritis, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

  • Facial swelling

  • General lethargy and weakness

II.Chronic Bright's disease

You may not observe any symptoms in the case of chronic Bright's disease. You may also witness some signs listed below that develop slowly:

III.Kidney failure

In severe cases, Bright's disease could develop into kidney failure. You may observe the following symptoms:

  • Poor sleep

  • Fatigue

  • Skin dryness, which may be accompanied by itchiness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Muscle cramps and weakness

  • Difficulty breathing on exertion or when lying flat

  • Decrease in urine output

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Tremors

Causes of glomerulonephritis (GN)

To understand the causes of Bright's disease, you should consider the two ways it manifests, acute or chronic.

The symptoms for each form of the disease are discussed below:

1.Acute glomerulonephritis (Bright's disease)

Acute Bright’s disease may occur as an overreaction by the body to a particular infection or an autoimmune reaction. The acute form of the disease may resolve on its own but often requires some form of treatment and close monitoring.

Some can be very aggressive early on. It is therefore important to consult a doctor to prevent possible irreversible damage to the kidneys.

(Video) Chronic kidney disease - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Illnesses that are known to cause acute glomerulonephritis include:

  • Strep throat

  • Goodpasture syndrome (a rare disease in which the immune system attacks lungs and kidneys)

  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegner’s disease involving inflammation of blood vessels)

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)

  • Polyarteritis nodosa (arteries attacked by cells)

2.Chronic glomerulonephritis (Bright's disease)

The chronic form of Bright's disease develops over a long period. You may not have any disease symptoms during the development period or only exhibit a few mild ones. This form of the disease could cause serious kidney damage if it is not detected and treated promptly.

Therefore, you should consult your doctor if you detect any symptoms. You should also do a comprehensive health checkup that includes the kidneys regularly.

There are several causes of this type of Bright's disease, such as genetic diseases. Some young males with poor vision and hearing may also experience hereditary nephritis, such as in the case of Alport syndrome.

Chronic Bright's disease may also be caused by:


A healthcare professional may carry out several tests to determine the presence of Bright’s disease and rule out other diseases.

Urine tests

Bright's disease is often discovered incidentally as you take tests for other (usually chronic) diseases. Based on a doctor's recommendation, you may have to take urine tests. The first step is to check for protein and blood in the urine.

Several urine tests will enable your doctor to assess the health of your kidneys. They include:

  • Creatinine clearance tests: measure the levels of creatinine present in your blood and urine. Abnormal creatinine levels in the urine suggest that the kidneys have an issue.

  • Urine concentration: the levels of substances such as chlorine in the urine indicate the kidney's effectiveness in filtering the blood.

  • Urine red blood cells: many red blood cells in the urine indicate that you may have nephritic syndrome.

  • Urine-specific gravity: refers to the proportion of solids to liquids in a given solution relative to the density of water. Higher than normal urine specific gravity may indicate that you have nephritis or Bright's disease.

  • Urine osmolality: refers to the concentration of solid substances relative to the volume of water present. High osmolality may indicate that the functioning of the kidney has reduced, as may be the case with Bright's disease.

    (Video) Bright's Disease

Kidney biopsy

A kidney biopsy entails looking at a piece of the kidney with a powerful microscope. The sample may be taken out in one of the following ways;

  • Percutaneous (through the skin) - A needle is used to get a sample by inserting it through the skin that lies on the kidney. This is the most common type of biopsy.

  • Open - a sample is taken directly from the kidney during surgery.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests may be requested to rule out any other causes of blood in the urine and potential kidney failure:

  • Kidney ultrasound

  • Intravenous pyelogram

  • CT scan

Blood tests

Your doctor may also prescribe a blood test. The test will involve taking your blood to a lab for testing as per your doctor's directions.

There are numerous possible outcomes when one undertakes blood tests. Some outcomes include:

  • Abnormal blood urea nitrogen

  • High creatinine levels

  • Anemia

Other tests include antibody tests for autoimmune disease and testing for strep bacteria.

Lifestyle management for glomerulonephritis

You can make the following adjustments to better cope with the condition:

Reduce the amount of salt intake

You should reduce your salt intake if you have glomerulonephritis. Consuming large amounts of salt could cause high blood pressure, further straining the kidneys.

Quit smoking

It would be best if you did not smoke when you have glomerulonephritis. Smoking negatively affects the medicine used to treat high blood pressure.

Maintain a healthy weight

High body weight causes the kidneys to strain, thereby increasing the risk of Bright's disease.

Consume less protein and potassium

With reduced kidney function, you should reduce protein intake. High protein levels in the blood may cause discomfort such as nausea, weakness, and loss of appetite. This should be guided by a dietitian as you do need some protein to adequately maintain muscle mass, etc.

Treatment of glomerulonephritis

Your doctor will consider the type of Bright's disease you are experiencing and its cause to recommend suitable treatment. If the cause of your Bright's disease is an infection, for example, then the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat it.


In case Bright's disease advances, kidney failure could occur. Your doctor could prescribe dialysis, where machines will filter your blood. Eventually, your doctor may recommend a kidney transplant.


Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids when certain autoimmune responses limit the normal functioning of the kidney. This will suppress the immune system. Other types of immunosuppressants may be required as well.

(Video) Bright's disease (Medical Condition)

Inflammation triggered by the immune system may also be treated with plasmapheresis. The treatment involves replacing your plasma (the liquid part of the blood) with donated plasma or intravenous fluids. The donated plasma will not contain harmful antibodies, thereby stopping the reaction.

General medication

Your doctor is likely to recommend the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) such as:

  • Lisinopril (Zestril)

  • Captopril

  • Perindopril (Aceon)

Your doctor may prescribe angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs, such as;

  • Irbesartan (Avapro)

  • Iosartan (Cozaar)

  • Valsartan (Diovan)

Both of these types of medications help to reduce blood pressure and slow down kidney disease. It will help reduce protein excretion as well.

Other treatments that your doctor may recommend could include:

  • Reducing your fluids intake and using calcium supplements

  • Taking diuretics to reduce swelling in areas such as the face and ankles

  • Assistance from a dietician to enable you to select suitable foods

Can glomerulonephritis be prevented?

There are no proven ways to prevent Bright's disease. The following practices, however, may be helpful;

  • Look out for symptoms such as blood in the urine or “Coke-colored” urine, which is a sign of blood.

  • Embrace practices that will enable you to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, such as meditating, exercising regularly, and eating a low-salt diet.

  • Reduce the number of infections: practice safe sex and observe hygiene.

  • Eat healthy food: unprocessed foods may help reduce the risk of getting Bright's disease.

When to visit a doctor?

It would be best to visit your doctor any time you think you have an infection, as infections can cause Bright's disease. You should also consult a doctor when you exhibit uncomfortable symptoms mentioned above or when you observe foam or an unusual color in your urine.

The lowdown

When detected early, acute Bright's disease can be treated and is possibly reversible. You can also recover from chronic Bright's disease when diagnosed early. Therefore, you should look out for the symptoms discussed above and consult your doctor each time you have an infection.

Regardless of the stage of the condition, there are appropriate medical interventions. For instance, in the case of kidney failure, your doctor may recommend dialysis. Your doctor may also recommend a transplant based on case-specific factors.

Follow your doctor's advice concerning diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

(Video) Polycystic kidney disease| Symptoms ,Causes, Diagnosis ,Food tips And Homeopathic medicines|Urdu|


What are symptoms of Bright's disease? ›

The wide range of symptoms that were often reported in patients with Bright's disease included:
  • Edema.
  • Albumin in the urine.
  • Hypertension.
  • Inflammation of serous membranes.
  • Hemorrhages.
  • Apoplexy.
  • Convulsions.
  • Blindness.

What are the causes of Bright's disease? ›

Bright's disease is an archaic term for what is now referred to as 'nephritis'. Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys, caused by toxins, infection or autoimmune conditions.

Is there treatment for Bright's disease? ›

Treatment. Bright's disease was historically treated with warm baths, blood-letting, squill, digitalis, mercuric compounds, opium, diuretics, laxatives, and dietary therapy, including abstinence from alcoholic drinks, cheese and red meat.

What part of the body is affected by Bright's disease? ›

Bright disease, also called glomerulonephritis or nephritis, inflammation of the structures in the kidney that produce urine: the glomeruli and the nephrons. The glomeruli are small round clusters of capillaries (microscopic blood vessels) that are surrounded by a double-walled capsule, called Bowman's capsule.

Is Bright disease hereditary? ›

Bright's disease or commonly known as glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of the glomeruli and nephrons. It is caused by the inflammation of the structures in the kidney that produce urine. Bright's disease is not a hereditary disease but it can be caused due to some genetic causes.

Does nephritis go away? ›

Acute nephritis sometimes resolves without treatment. However, it usually requires medication and special procedures that remove excess fluids and dangerous proteins. Treating chronic nephritis typically involves regular kidney check-ups and blood pressure monitoring.

What are the 2 leading causes of kidney disease? ›

In the United States, diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure, accounting for 3 out of 4 new cases.

What is the best treatment for nephritis? ›

Treatment for Nephritis

Limiting salt, potassium and protein in the diet. Reducing fluid intake. Taking anti-inflammatory medications. Taking medication to control high blood pressure.

Is it good for your kidneys to drink a lot of water? ›

Water helps the kidneys remove wastes from your blood in the form of urine. Water also helps keep your blood vessels open so that blood can travel freely to your kidneys, and deliver essential nutrients to them. But if you become dehydrated, then it is more difficult for this delivery system to work.

What foods are good for nephritis? ›

Here are 20 of the best foods for people with kidney disease.
  • Cauliflower. Cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable that's a good source of many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and the B vitamin folate. ...
  • Blueberries. ...
  • Sea bass. ...
  • Red grapes. ...
  • Egg whites. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Buckwheat. ...
  • Olive oil.
18 Nov 2019

How can I treat nephritis at home? ›

Home remedies and treatments for kidney infections
  1. Drink a lot of water. ...
  2. Drink cranberry juice. ...
  3. Avoid alcohol and coffee. ...
  4. Take probiotics. ...
  5. Get some vitamin C. ...
  6. Try parsley juice. ...
  7. Consume apples and apple juice. ...
  8. Take an Epsom salt bath.

Can you live with nephritis? ›

When SLE affects the kidneys, it is called lupus nephritis. Life expectancy for lupus nephritis depends on the severity of the symptoms and how well patients respond to medications. Treatment for lupus nephritis is very effective and about 80 to 90 percent of people with the disease will have a normal life expectancy.

What drugs cause nephritis? ›

Acute interstitial nephritis is an immune process that is most commonly caused by penicillins, diuretics, allopurinol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cimetidine, and sulfonamides.

Is Bright's disease related to diabetes? ›

Wilhelm Griesinger (1817-1868) was perhaps the first to suggest in 1859 that the diabetes might be causing the Bright's disease, with the latter as a 'complication'.

What can trigger nephritis? ›

What causes acute glomerulonephritis? The acute disease may be caused by infections such as strep throat. It may also be caused by other illnesses, including lupus, Goodpasture's syndrome, Wegener's disease, and polyarteritis nodosa. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are important to prevent kidney failure.

How do you know if your kidneys are inflamed? ›

Symptoms include blood and pus in the urine, pain during urination, pain in back and sides, and urgent or infrequent urination. An x-ray may be performed to see if there are any abnormalities of the kidney, bladder and ureters. Antibiotics and treatment of any underlying causes to prevent recurrence are required.

Who had Bright's disease? ›

Arthur assumed the presidency on September 20, 1881. He served the remaining three and a half years but was ill for most of his term. Arthur died of the complications of Bright's disease less than two years after leaving office.

What are the signs and symptoms of nephritis? ›

Glomerulonephritis signs and symptoms may include:
  • Pink or cola-colored urine from red blood cells in your urine (hematuria)
  • Foamy or bubbly urine due to excess protein in the urine (proteinuria)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Fluid retention (edema) with swelling evident in your face, hands, feet and abdomen.
26 Feb 2022

What does nephritis feel like? ›

The symptoms of lupus nephritis may include foamy urine and edema—swelling that occurs when your body has too much fluid, usually in the legs, feet, or ankles, and less often in the hands or face. You may also develop high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a sign of lupus nephritis.

What happens if nephritis goes untreated? ›

All three types of acute nephritis will improve with immediate treatment. However, if your condition goes untreated, you may develop kidney failure. Kidney failure occurs when one or both kidneys stop working for a short time or permanently. If that happens, you may need dialysis permanently.

What are the foods to be avoided for nephritis? ›

Your child should not eat them if he or she has been prescribed a low-sodium diet:
  • Most canned foods (vegetables, meats, pasta meals)
  • Processed foods (meats, such as bologna, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs, and sausage)
  • Cheese.
  • Dried pasta and rice mixes.
  • Most soups (canned and dried)

How can I check my kidney at home? ›

4 Best At-home Kidney Test Kits
  1. Best blood sample test: LetsGetChecked Kidney Test.
  2. Best blood test for detailed results: Verisana Kidney Function Test.
  3. Best urine-based test: Minuteful Kidney.
  4. Best combination kit: Labcorp OnDemand Kidney Health Test Package.
21 Mar 2022

What happens when your kidneys start shutting down? ›

If your kidneys stop working completely, your body fills with extra water and waste products. This condition is called uremia. Your hands or feet may swell. You will feel tired and weak because your body needs clean blood to function properly.

Is milk good for nephritis? ›

Dairy products contain high amounts of phosphorus, potassium, and protein and should be limited on a renal diet. Despite milk's high calcium content, its phosphorus content may weaken bones in those with kidney disease.

How do you test for nephritis? ›

  1. Blood and urine tests. In addition to standard blood and urine tests, you may be asked to collect your urine for an entire day. ...
  2. Kidney biopsy. A biopsy — where your doctor removes a small section of kidney tissue for lab analysis — is the most definitive test for diagnosing lupus nephritis.

How long does it take for kidney inflammation to go away? ›

Most people who are diagnosed and treated promptly with antibiotics feel completely better after about 2 weeks. People who are older or have underlying conditions may take longer to recover. If your symptoms show no sign of improvement 24 hours after treatment starts, contact a GP for advice.

Is lemon water good for kidney? ›

Lemons contain citrate, which helps prevent calcium from building up and forming stones in your kidneys. Interestingly, the benefit doesn't seem to be present in oranges, making lemon a unique tool in kidney stone prevention.

What vitamins are good for the kidneys? ›

Including these kidney health supplements into your daily diet may help maintain your kidney health and slow the progression of chronic kidney disease complications.
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Iron. ...
  • Vitamin B9. ...
  • Vitamin B12.
27 Jan 2022

What juice is good for kidneys? ›

To get the best health benefits, be sure to choose 100% organic water-based cranberry juice. So how does cranberry juice help? It can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your kidneys, which helps prevent an infection from forming in the first place.

What breakfast foods are good for kidneys? ›

Whole foods that aren't overly processed are generally a good idea for your kidney-friendly breakfast.
  • Whole grain cereal, bagel, bread, or English muffin.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Fresh fruit such as a bowl of cut strawberries, sliced cucumber, or diced bell peppers.
  • Plant-based choices like almond milk, peanut butter, and chia seeds.

Is coffee good for kidneys? ›

Studies also show that coffee has protective effects on the kidneys, thanks to antioxidants. Drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Are bananas good for kidneys? ›

The Worst Foods for Your Kidneys

Bananas: Like avocados, bananas are high in potassium — in fact, they're famous for their potassium content. Though bananas are low in sodium, it is still best to avoid making them a daily staple if you're concerned about kidney health.

What herbs repair the kidneys? ›

The Best Herbs for Kidney Support
  • Dandelion Root. Otherwise known as Taraxacum officinale, dandelion root is a weed that has diuretic properties. ...
  • Chanca Piedra. ...
  • Horsetail. ...
  • Juniper Berries. ...
  • Uva Ursi Leaf. ...
  • Hawthorn Leaf. ...
  • Cleaver's Leaf/Stem. ...
  • Cornsilk.

Where is nephritis located in the body? ›

A condition in which the tissues in the kidney become inflamed and have problems filtering waste from the blood.

What virus causes nephritis? ›

Hantaviruses are responsible for 'hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome', an acute interstitial nephritis resulting from direct vascular injury of renal tissue. The severe form leads to acute renal failure in 50% of cases.

How long can you live with nephritis? ›

With proper treatment, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular follow-ups, 80 to 90 percent of people with lupus nephritis are expected to live for the average lifespan.

What antibiotics treat nephritis? ›

Antibiotics used to treat kidney infections include: ciprofloxacin (Cipro) levofloxacin (Levaquin) sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim)

What is an autoimmune disease that attacks the kidney? ›

Goodpasture syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body mistakenly makes antibodies that attack the lungs and kidneys. It most often occurs in people ages 20 to 30 or older than age 60. It is more common in men. It can be fatal if not quickly diagnosed and treated.

Can autoimmune trigger nephritis? ›

Autoimmune diseases cause your immune system to attack your healthy cells. Lupus can affect many parts of the body. When your immune system attacks your kidneys, it is called lupus nephritis. The most severe kind of lupus nephritis is proliferative nephritis, which can cause permanent damage to your kidneys.

What does kidney nephritis feel like? ›

The symptoms of lupus nephritis may include foamy urine and edema—swelling that occurs when your body has too much fluid, usually in the legs, feet, or ankles, and less often in the hands or face. You may also develop high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a sign of lupus nephritis.

What is the most common cause of nephritis? ›

Nephritis (kidney inflammation) is most often caused by autoimmune diseases that affect major organs, although it can also result from infection. Nephritis can cause excessive amounts of protein to be excreted in urine, and fluid to build up in the body.

How is kidney nephritis diagnosed? ›

Kidney biopsy.

A biopsy — where your doctor removes a small section of kidney tissue for lab analysis — is the most definitive test for diagnosing lupus nephritis. It can also help determine how severe your disease is.

Does nephritis cause back pain? ›

Acute interstitial nephritis has many clinical manifestations, most notably fever and rash. Flank pain is an uncommon presentation. A case of acute, severe, low-back pain and rash in a healthy woman found to be secondary to acute interstitial nephritis is reported.

How is Bright's disease diagnosed? ›

Bright's disease is often discovered incidentally as you take tests for other (usually chronic) diseases. Based on a doctor's recommendation, you may have to take urine tests. The first step is to check for protein and blood in the urine. Several urine tests will enable your doctor to assess the health of your kidneys.

Which organ in the body is inflamed in nephritis? ›

Nephritis causes one or both kidneys to become inflamed and leak protein into the urine. Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys. These important organs clean the blood by filtering out excess fluid and toxins, then eliminate those waste products from the body in the form of urine.

What are the top 2 major risk factors for kidney disease? ›

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the more common causes of CKD in adults.


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