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Rheumatoid arthritis( RA) is an autoimmune disorder and it can affect multiple systems and organs. When kidneys are involved, it may cause glomerulonephritis. Glomerulonephritis in RA present both of renal manifestations and extrarenal manifestations.
Renal clinical manifestations
Glomerulonephritis in RA is featured with inflammation of glomeruli which are filters in kidneys. When the filters are impaired, they will lose their barrier function and a large amount of proteins will leak through the filtering system and ends up in urine. Additionally, red blood cells can also be seen in urine called hematuria.
As the inflamed kidneys can not remove extra salts and fluids from body adequately, it will cause swelling. Usually, it primarily occurs in eyelids and ankles.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for glomerulonephritis in RA and can accelerate renal function decline. That is because high blood pressure can put extra workload on kidneys and may make them worn out over time.
Extrarenal manifestations of glomerulonephritis in RA
This is usually a throbbing and aching sort of pain. It is usually more worse in the morning and after the patients have been sitting still for a while.
Swelling can occur due to retention of fluids in joint. It is also attributed to stiffness and even cause disability. This can affect the patients’ routine life seriously.
Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is commonly seen in glomerulonephritis in RA. This can lead to weight loss.
Warmth and redness
The lining of the affected joint becomes inflamed, causing the joints to swell, become hot, tender to touch and painful.
RA can involve many body areas. It can cause inflammation of the lining around the lungs. Usually, the patients with glomerulonephritis in RA do not show symptoms. If this problem becomes serious, it can cause shortness of breath.
The above are the major clinical manifestations of glomerulonephritis in RA. If you have lived with RA for years, you should pay more attention to the above symptoms. If they occur, you should go to see a doctor and figure out if they are related to kidney problem.
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