Interstitial nephritis is a rare kidney disease that causes inflammation of the interstitium, the tissue that surrounds the glomeruli, the tiny filtering units in the kidneys. Over time, this inflammation can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure.
Interstitial nephritis can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in adults. It is also more common in women than in men.
Causes of interstitial nephritis
The most common cause of interstitial nephritis is an allergic reaction to a medication, such as antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Other possible causes of interstitial nephritis include:
- Infections, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and sarcoidosis
- Kidney stones
- Obstructive uropathy, a condition that blocks the flow of urine
- Heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium
- Certain cancers
Symptoms of interstitial nephritis
The symptoms of interstitial nephritis can vary depending on the severity of the disease and the organs that are affected. Some people with interstitial nephritis have no symptoms, while others may experience symptoms such as:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Protein in the urine (proteinuria)
- Swelling in the hands and feet (edema)
- High blood pressure
- Back pain
Diagnosis of interstitial nephritis
Interstitial nephritis is diagnosed based on a combination of medical history, physical exam, blood tests, and urine tests. A kidney biopsy may also be recommended to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the disease.
Treatment of interstitial nephritis
The treatment of interstitial nephritis depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is a medication, the medication will need to be discontinued. If the cause is an infection, antibiotics or other medications may be prescribed. If the cause is an autoimmune disease, immunosuppressive medications may be prescribed.
In some cases, people with interstitial nephritis may progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which means that their kidneys stop working properly. If this happens, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary.
Prognosis for interstitial nephritis
The prognosis for people with interstitial nephritis varies depending on the severity of the disease and the underlying cause. With early diagnosis and treatment, many people with interstitial nephritis can make a full recovery. However, some people with interstitial nephritis may progress to ESRD.
What can you do to manage interstitial nephritis?
If you have interstitial nephritis, there are a number of things you can do to help manage the condition and improve the prognosis:
- Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- Follow a healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Control your blood pressure.
- Control your cholesterol.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Get regular exercise.
- Follow up with your doctor regularly for monitoring and treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns about interstitial nephritis, be sure to talk to your doctor.