Also known as MGN; Membranous glomerulonephritis; Membranous GN; and Extramembranous glomerulonephritis, membranous nephropathy is a kidney disorder in which the glomerular basement membrane has thickened. This interferes with the ability of the kidney in to filter fluids and waste.The exact reason behind the thickening reaction is not known.
According to a UMM article, the disorder occurs in about two of every 10,000 people and most commonly appears after the age of 40.
Nephrotic syndrome is the most common cause, but certain risk factors can increase the odds of occurrence. These factors include hepatitis B, systemic lupus erythematosus, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, syphilis, malaria, solid cancerous tumors, exposure to mercury and certain medications such as trimethadione.
Several tests can indicate the cause of the disorder in patients. These tests include blood tests for hepatitis B or C, cryoglobulin testing, and an antinuclear antibodies test.
Symptoms appear over time and include swelling, weight gain, excessive nighttime urination, high blood pressure, fatigue, poor appetite and foamy urine appearance.
Diagnosis of membranous nephropathy may be obtained by several methods including physical exam, urinalysis, BUN, creatinine clearance, and kidney biopsy.
Treatment is focused on slowing disease progress as well as reducing symptoms. This can be achieved with measures such as controlling blood pressure, lowering triglyceride levels and the use of blood thinners.
Most patients will unfortunately experience irreversible kidney damage to some degree. Approximately 20 percent of those cases result in end-stage renal disease.
In some cases, however, the condition can go away or the patient can experience times in which they are symptom-free.
There is no real prevention, but steps can be taken to reduce risk such as prompt treatment of conditions and diseases that can cause this disease, as well as avoiding those substances that can cause it.
Membranous nephropathy. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Updated 8/13/2009 by Parul Patel, MD. Reviewed by Verimed Healthcare Network and David Zieve, MD, MHA. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000472.htm
Membranous nephropathy – Overview. University of Maryland Medical Center. Reviewed 8/14/2007 by Charles Silberberg, DO and VeriMed Healthcare Network. http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000472.htm