Kidney Definitions | Renal Dictionary | Common Terms used to describe the Kidney and Kidney Disease
Diseases and Conditions
autoimmune (AW-toh-ih-MYOON) disease: A disease in which the body’s own disease-fighting cells attack the body itself.
hypertension (HY-per-TEN-shun): High blood pressure, a condition that can cause kidney damage or be caused by kidney disease.
idiopathic (id-ee-o-PATH-ik) disease: A disease that occurs without a known cause.
nephrotoxic (NEF-ro-TOKS-ik): Damaging to the kidneys.
sclerotic (skleh-ROT-ik) disease: A disease in which tissues become hardened or scarred.
systemic (sis-TEM-ik) disease: A disease that affects multiple parts of the body, often as a result of substances circulating in the blood.
Treatments and Procedures
biopsy (BY-op-see): A procedure in which a needle is used to obtain small pieces of tissue from an organ for examination under different types of microscopes, each of which shows a different aspect of the tissue.
dialysis (dy-AL-ih-sis): A medical treatment that removes wastes and extra fluid from the blood after the kidneys have stopped working.
immunosuppressant (im-YOON-oh-suh-PRESS-unt): A medicine given to block the body’s immune system.
plasmapheresis (PLAZ-muh-fer-EE-sis): A medical treatment in which the blood is treated outside the body to remove harmful antibodies, and then returned to the patient.
Kidney Parts and Organic Substances
antibody (AN-tee-BOD-ee): A molecule that protects the body against disease by attacking foreign tissues or organisms. Antibodies are also called immunoglobulins.
antigen (AN-tih-jen): A substance that triggers a response from the body’s immune system.
autoantibody (AW-toh-AN-tee-bod-ee): An antibody that attacks the body itself.
creatinine (kree-AT-ih-nin): A waste product in the blood that results from the normal breakdown of muscle. Healthy kidneys filter creatinine from the blood.
glomerulus (gloh-MEHR-yoo-lus): The tiny cluster of looping blood vessels in the nephron, where wastes are filtered from the blood.
lipid (LIP-id): One of several fatty substances used in cells. Excess lipids in the blood may result in harmful deposits in blood vessels.
nephron (NEF-rahn): One of a million tiny filtering units in each kidney. Each nephron is made up of both a glomerulus and a fluid-collecting tubule that processes extra water and wastes.
protein (PRO-teen): A substance found in food and used by the body to grow, repair tissue, and fight disease.
urea (yoo-REE-uh): A waste material found in blood after protein has been broken down. Healthy kidneys remove urea from the blood. Damaged kidneys may allow urea to accumulate in the blood, thus causing uremia.
Signs and Symptoms of Glomerulonephritis
edema (eh-DEE-muh): Swelling caused by the accumulation of fluid in cells and tissues. In kidney failure, fluid may collect in the feet, hands, abdomen, or face.
hematuria (HEE-muh-TOOR-ee-uh): Blood in the urine. Blood may turn the urine pink or cola-colored.
hypoproteinemia (HY-po-PRO-teen-EE-mee-uh): Reduced levels of protein in the blood.
proteinuria (PRO-tee-NOOR-ee-uh): Large amounts of protein in the urine.
uremia (yoo-REE-mee-uh): Accumulation of urea and other wastes in the blood. These wastes, which become toxic in large amounts, are normally eliminated through urination.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.