Nephritis is the inflammation of the kidneys. It is a serious condition and may be either acute or chronic. This disease often strikes during childhood or adolescence. It can become progressively worse and result in death, if not treated properly in the initial stages. In the alternative, it may subside into a chronic stage where the patient gets better but not too well.

The main symptoms of acute nephritis are a pain in the kidneys extending down to the uterus, fever, dull pain in the back and scanty and highly colored urine. Often the urine may contain blood, albumin and casts consisting of clumps of red and white cells, which come from damaged kidneys. The patient suffers from puffiness in the face and swelling of the feet and ankles.

In the chronic stage of nephritis, which may drag on for many years, the patient passes large amounts of albumin in the urine. Later there may be a rise in blood pressure and the patient may develop uremia. There may be frequent urination, especially during the night.

Nephritis usually follows some streptococcus infection of the throat or an attack of scarlet fever or rheumatic fever. The underlying causes of nephritis are the same as for diseases of the kidneys namely wrong dietary habits, excessive drinking, the suppressive medical treatment of former diseases, the habitual use of chemical agents of all kinds for the treatment of indigestion and other stomach disorders and frequent use of aspirin and other painkillers.

Nutritional deficiencies can also lead to nephritis. The disease has been produced in many species of animals by diets deficient in the B vitamin, chlorine. Animals lacking essential fatty acids and magnesium also develop nephritis. When vitamin B6 and magnesium are under-supplied, the kidneys are further damaged by sharp crystals of oxalic acid combined with calcium. Nephritis also occurs if vitamin E is deficient.