Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Renal

Membranous Nephropathy (8004)

Membranous Nephropathy (8004) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Renal


Membranous Nephropathy

Membranous Nephropathy (MN) is caused
by damage to glomeruli, the filtering units of
the kidney. This causes loss of protein in the
urine that leads to swelling of legs, high
blood pressure, and low protein levels in
blood. It can also lead to kidney failure.
What is membranous nephropathy?
MN is an autoimmune disease. This means
that a person’s own immune system starts
attacking the kidneys. People with MN
make antibodies against proteins in the
glomeruli. These antibodies build up in the
glomeruli and cause damage. If this process
happens on its own, it is called primary MN.
If there are other causes, it is called
secondary MN. Other causes could include a
viral infection like hepatitis B or other
autoimmune disease like lupus. Some
medicines and even some types of cancer
can also cause MN.
Signs and Symptoms
Protein loss in the urine will cause bubbles
in the urine. Low protein levels in the blood
can cause swelling of the legs, trouble
breathing, and high blood pressure. There
can also be high blood cholesterol levels,
higher risk of blood clots, and higher risk of
Diagnosis of MN is made by kidney biopsy.
A biopsy removes a small piece of the
kidney to check for antibodies in the
glomeruli. If MN is diagnosed, other tests
will be done to look for viral infections, any
other autoimmune disease, any new
medicines/drugs, and screening for cancer.
Treatment of MN starts with deciding if you
have primary MN or secondary MN. If it is
secondary MN, then you will need treatment
for the cause of MN. If you have primary
MN, you will need medicine to stop your
immune system from attacking your
kidneys. Other important treatments for both
types of MN include:
1. Good blood pressure control with
medicines that lower protein in urine
2. Low salt diet
3. Medicines to lower cholesterol
4. High protein diet
5. Medicines to help with swelling
called diuretics (also known as
“water pills”)

Other Resources
The National Institute of Diabetes and
Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health
Information Center
ξ Phone number: 1-800-860-8747
ξ Website:

References/Sources of Images
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) (2014, April).
Glomerular diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-

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