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Bright's Disease

Bright's Disease Definition

Bright's disease (also known as nephritis) is a historical classification of kidney diseases that is described in modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis. The term is no longer in use, as diseases are now classified according to their more fully understood etiologies. It is typically characterized by the presence of serum albumin (blood plasma) in the urine, and frequently accompanied by edema (tissue particulate). Many people believe that too much protein consumption can lead to Bright's disease, but this is a spurious statement and is nothing but a myth.

Bright's Disease Prevalence

61,423 people had Primary Glomerulonephritis (a subtype of Bright?s disease) in the USA in 1996.

Bright's Disease Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of Bright's disease include inflammation of the kidney, commonly called nephritis. Inflammation may be due to too much protein being shed through the kidneys, called proteinuria, or hematuria, which causes blood in the urine. As well, Bright's Disease may describe kidney failure due to high blood pressure or retention of fluids. The symptoms most commonly associated with Bright's Disease are intense pain on either or both sides of the lower back. Fever might be present and intense edema, or retention of fluids, might result to the extremities to appear extremely swollen. Breath could be labored and difficult, particularly if kidney failure caused fluid to accumulate in the lungs, or is caused by metastasized cancer. Analysis of urine in diagnosing Bright's Disease might show very cloudy, dark or bloody urine. Those affected with Bright's disease might also find eating difficult, or might have periods of nausea or vomiting.

Bright's Disease Treatment

Patients may be administered with medicines that decrease swelling, lower blood pressure, and decrease inflammation by suppressing the immune system. Patients may need to watch their intake of protein, sodium, and potassium. Those with severe disease should limit their sodium intake to 2 grams per day and limit fluid as well. Depending on the histology, renal function and degree of proteinuria, patients may need steroid therapy or chemotherapy regimens such as cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, or cyclosporine. The medical therapy for nephritis depends on the severity of the disease. For mild cases, corticosteroids are, in general, prescribed. More severe cases require treatment with immunosuppressant agents. The two most frequently-used agents are mycophenolate mofetil and intravenous cyclophosphamide. One study compared these two drugs which showed that patients with Class III or IV disease are more likely to benefit from mycophenolate mofetil as compared to cyclophosphamide. Because of this, mycophenolate mofetil is now considered to be the first-line therapy for this disease.

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