There is one primary job that our kidneys have. They are the filter removing excess wastes and water from our blood. When your kidneys are healthy, they are able to filter as much as two quarts of excess water and waste products, each and every day. The waste removed from the blood by the kidneys then exits the body through urine. If your kidney is inflamed, its function is disrupted. This inflammation is known as nephritis.
We will spend the rest of the article looking at nephritis more closely, typical forms of treatment, and using marijuana to get rid of inflammation while providing other important benefits. This includes providing relief from medications typically used for nephritis relief.
What exactly is Nephritis?
When our kidneys become inflamed, this is generally referred to as Nephritis. There are nephrons in our kidneys. These are the units that are used for blood filtration. Glomerulonephritis and nephritis words people use interchangeably because it’s actually the small blood cells within a nephron, known as glomeruli, that become swollen and inflamed in most cases. If the nephrons become swollen and inflamed, our kidneys aren’t normally as efficient when it comes to removing the waste from the blood.
There are many different medical issues that can inflame the kidneys, primarily an autoimmune disorder or an infection. These two forms of nephritis are both chronic and acute. We should take a better look at both of these types, as well as lupus nephritis.
Nephritis in acute form, more often than not, will suddenly develop after you have had a serious infection. These infections include, but aren’t limited to HIV, hepatitis, and strep throat. In many instances, nephritis can be the result of a chronic condition or a rare disorder such as granulomatosis. If acute nephritis is something you experience, the issue will at times resolve on its own. But, this isn’t always the case.
The majority of people aren’t this lucky. Often, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If not, you take the risk of having damage to your kidney that can be permanent. Along with acute glomerulonephritis, interstitial nephritis is a form of acute nephritis. This form has the ability to affect the space between the tubules in the kidneys.
Similar to acute nephritis, chronic nephritis develops following a sudden disease. It’s different from acute nephritis because, in chronic form, nephritis develops much slower and more subtle. This makes it dangerous because you won’t always be able to notice the symptoms, letting you know you have nephritis until it’s had the opportunity to further advance. While this is happening, your kidneys are suffering serious damage. Most of the time, chronic nephritis will lead to complete failure of the kidneys.
This is another form of nephritis that needs our attention in this article. Lupus is a disease that is autoimmune. This means the immune system used to protect your health from sickness and disease, will attack your body’s healthy tissue erroneously. Over 50 percent of the people with lulus will find themselves developing lupus nephritis. This is because their kidneys are targeted by their own immune system.
If you are suffering from acute nephritis, you will tend to have symptoms instantly. These symptoms include:
- Having a puffy face when you wake up.
- Brown or pink urine, meaning there is blood.
- Not urinating as frequently as normal.
If you are someone who is suffering from chronic nephritis, it might be a while before you begin experiencing symptoms. These are a few early signs you will want to look for:
- Brown or pink urine, indicating the presence of blood.
- An excess of protein creating urine that’s foamier.
- Higher blood pressure than normal.
- Swollen ankles and face.
- Having to urinate more than usual at night.
If it reaches the point that you’re experiencing kidney failure, these are a few of the symptoms you may have to deal with:
- Losing your appetite
- Vomiting and nausea
- Muscle cramping at night
- Itchy and dry skin
Statistics of Nephritis
It can be difficult to know the exact numbers of people suffering from nephritis because acute cases can resolve on their own with no attention from a doctor. That being said, with chronic cases, nephritis can create more severe problems like kidney failure. Here are a couple stats that will show just how serious inflammation of the kidneys and kidney failure can be in the United States today.
- Combined, nephrosis, nephritis, and nephrotic syndrome, within the United States, equal the ninth leading reason for death.
- There are more than 660,000 people suffering from kidney failure in the United States.
- Over 70 percent of people in the United States who are suffering from kidney failure are on dialysis, with over 29 percent having a transplanted kidney.
- Around eight percent of the cases of kidney failure are caused by glomerulonephritis.
Because nephritis is the result of other health issues such as an infection or chronic condition, treatments will more often than not focus on taking care of underlying causes. However, a few causes, such as lupus, can’t be cured. When this is the case, treatment will focus on keeping the damage as low as possible and assisting the patient to cope with any disorder symptoms they may be fighting.
Here are a few of the more popular ways doctors have been treating nephritis:
If nephritis is being caused due to an infection, it can be cleared up with antibiotics that are taken either intravenously or orally. If you are experiencing pain as the result of the infection, you might also want to be taking a pain-killer that can be purchased over the counter or with a prescription.
With an autoimmune disorder, doctors might prescribe a medicine that aims at immune system suppression. This protects the kidneys from being attacked by the immune system. Depending on the medication a doctor prescribes for you, the side effects you experience can vary. That being said, with almost all of these medications weakening the immune system, being at a greater risk for infection can be expected.
Inflammation can also be reduced with the use of steroids. With any steroid, there will be a long list of side effects you can experience. This includes but isn’t limited to swelling, acne, insomnia, swelling, mood swing, gaining weight, an increase in hair growth, headaches, and higher blood pressure than normal.
If high blood pressure is a result of nephritis, referred to as hypertension, the doctor might prescribe water pills, better known as diuretics. Along with helping the patient control their blood pressure, they will also help against swelling. Side effects you can expect include dizziness, excessive urination, fatigue, headache, and cramps.
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
By making changes to your diet and lifestyle, there are a few ways you have the potential of lessening the effects you will experience with nephritis. Here are a few of the changes that help the most:
- Quitting smoking
- Going on a diet that is low-sodium. This reduces swelling and hypertension created by the retention of fluids.
- Eating a diet that is low in potassium and protein to slow the building up of waste in your blood.
- Keeping a healthier weight.
- Watching your blood sugar if you are someone who has diabetes.
This is a clinical process mimicking the results created with healthy kidneys. The blood is filtered, removing any excess water, salt, and waste. Dialysis is needed once a patient begins experiencing kidney failure. With acute nephritis, this can be seen as a solution, but dialysis usually happens as an ongoing process with chronic nephritis for the rest of a patient’s life. This can normally be as long as up to ten years.
If your kidneys are failing, there is always the option of a kidney transplant. A person is able to live with just one kidney that is still functioning. Because of this, there will occasionally be a member of the family or a friend who makes the decision to donate a healthy kidney to assist the patient. Also, if this isn’t the case for you, your name can be placed on a waiting list by the doctor, making you available to receive a kidney from a donor. That being said, if your body doesn’t take the new kidney that has been transplanted, you will have to take specific medications as long as you live with the new kidney.
Marijuana has long been valued by society in general for its medicinal properties. However, there is limited research on how marijuana could potentially be used as medical treatment. This is because of social concerns and stigmas that relate to the buzz or high that is experienced with the use of marijuana. This is created by THC, a compound found within cannabis. Still, in the few previous years, there has started to be an expansion of marijuana’s medical potential.
Other Benefits with Marijuana for Nephritis
For the most part, the research is still ongoing when it comes to how marijuana could potentially affect immune and inflammatory issues within the human body. Still, there is a long history of both experience and research indicating marijuana used to treat nephritis to effectively alleviate symptoms patients can experience.
In many instances, the symptoms a patient wants relief for includes taking a medication that produces negative side effects. With steroids, marijuana can be used to get rid of many of the side effects. The patient will be able to sleep better at night, have a way to relieve headaches and be able to stay in a calm mood. With water pills, the patient can use marijuana to ease cramps within the muscles and feel more energized compared to being fatigued.
If the patient is at the point of experiencing kidney failure, marijuana can be used to alleviate many of the symptoms which are normally uncomfortable to live with. The patient’s appetite will be stimulated with cannabis, and it can be used to treat nausea. Cramps in the muscles are relieved, the patient feels more energized, all of which are common side effects with kidney failure. Last but not least, when a patient is dealing with a condition as serious as lupus or kidney failure, marijuana can be used to fight feelings of depression and anxiety.
If you are someone who is suffering from nephritis, marijuana could be exactly what you have been needing. You will need to schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor or visit a dispensary that is open to the public near you.