Membranous nephropathy is a disease which damages the tiny blood vessels in the kidney (glomeruli), causing them to become abnormally thick and leaky. These vessels normally filter the blood, but at the same time prevent important molecules such as proteins from spilling into the urine. When these blood vessels get damaged, as in membranous nephropathy, proteins leak into the urine. This means there is less protein circulating in the bloodstream, which can in turn lead to fluid accumulation in various tissues of the body (known as edema), decreased ability to fight infection and increased tendency of blood clots to form in the circulation.
Membranous nephropathy can be caused by other diseases (such as Lupus, some infections and some cancers), or it can arise on its own. Some patients with membranous nephropathy get better on their own, some patients do not recover spontaneously and some unfortunately progress to kidney failure needing dialysis.
At Tufts, we use the most recent evidence based methods to diagnose and treat membranous nephropathy. We look for underlying illnesses associated with this condition, perform blood tests and often a kidney biopsy to characterize the type of membranous nephropathy and then develop a treatment plan based on what type of membranous nephropathy each patient has. We approach treatment both with therapy targeted to underlying cause of membranous nephropathy (immune therapy) and also with interventions to support and promote overall kidney health (diet, weight management, blood pressure control).
The recent discovery of PLA2R testing (blood test) has revolutionized the way membranous nephropathy is diagnosed and monitored. We use the most sensitive assays for PLA2R testing to guide our diagnosis and surveillance of this disease.
At Tufts Medical Center, our goal is to give each patients a lifetime of individualized care. We help patients understand what is known and what is not known about their disease and treatments to make the best decision for them. We understand what it's like to live with kidney disease. Dr. Inker and her team are dedicated kidney doctors who can help you and your family life your life with kidney disease.
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The Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston specializes in the study, diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease and high blood pressure and more.
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