Glomerulosclerosis is the term used to describe scarring that occurs within the kidneys in the collections 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--that 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, puffy eyes, or generalized fluid retention.
Scarring disrupts the filtering process of the kidneys allowing protein to leak from the blood into the urine, where it can be detected.
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 to 15 percent of people with proteinuria are diagnosed with glomerulosclerosis.
Specific treatment for glomerulosclerosis will be determined by your doctor 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 goal of treatment is to prevent further damage and to avoid dialysis. The best treatment for glomerulosclerosis depends on what caused the scarring. The cause is determined by a kidney biopsy. Treatment may include:
Immunosuppressant drugs. Drugs used 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