Classification and external resources
MeSH D007674

Nephropathy refers to damage to or disease of the kidney. An older term for this is nephrosis.



Causes of nephropathy include administration of analgesics, xanthine oxidase deficiency, and long-term exposure to lead or its salts. Chronic conditions that can produce nephropathy include systemic lupus erythematosus, diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure (hypertension), which lead to diabetic nephropathy and hypertensive nephropathy, respectively.


One cause of nephropathy is the long term usage of analgesics. The pain medicines which can cause kidney problems include aspirin, acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. This form of nephropathy is "chronic analgesic nephritis," a chronic inflammatory change characterized by loss and atrophy of tubules and interstitial fibrosis and inflammation (BRS Pathology, 2nd edition).

Specifically, long term use of the analgesic phenacetin has been linked to renal papillary necrosis (necrotizing papillitis).

Xanthine oxidase deficiency

A second possible cause of nephropathy is due to decreased function of xanthine oxidase in the purine degradation pathway. Xanthine oxidase will degrade hypoxanthine to xanthine and then to uric acid. Xanthine is not very soluble in water; therefore, an increase in xanthine forms crystals (which can lead to kidney stones) and result in damage of the kidney. Drugs like allopurinol that are used to inhibit xanthine oxidase can therefore cause possible nephropathy.

Polycystic Disease of the Kidneys

Additional possible cause of nephropathy is due to the formation of cysts or pockets containing fluid within the kidneys. These cysts get enlarged with the progression of aging causing renal failure. Cysts may also form in other organs including the Liver, Brain and Ovaries. Polycystic Disease is a genetic disease caused by Mutations in the PKD1, PKD2, and PKHD1 genes. This disease affects about half a million people in the US. Polycystic kidneys are susceptible to infections and cancer other factors contributing to renal failure.


Kidney Disease is a chronic non-communicable disease, having serious consequence if it can not be controlled effectively. Generally, the process of Kidney Disease development is from light to serious. Most Kidney Diseases follow developing process of Renal Insufficiency, Renal Failure and Uremia.

See also

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nephropathy — A medical word for kidney disease. Nephropathy can be applied to any disease of the kidney. The prefix nephro denotes the kidney. From the Greek nephros meaning kidney. Greece also provided pathy from pathos meaning disease. A nephrectomy… …   Medical dictionary

  • nephropathy — n. disease of the kidney. See also: Balkan nephropathy, Berger s nephropathy, diabetic nephropathy …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • nephropathy — noun a disease affecting the kidneys • Syn: ↑kidney disease, ↑renal disorder, ↑nephrosis • Hypernyms: ↑uropathy • Hyponyms: ↑nephritis, ↑Brig …   Useful english dictionary

  • nephropathy — noun (plural thies) Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: circa 1900 an abnormal state of the kidney; especially one associated with or secondary to some other pathological process • nephropathic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nephropathy — nephropathic /nef reuh path ik/, adj. /neuh frop euh thee/, n. Pathol. any disease of the kidney. [1915 20; NEPHRO + PATHY] * * * …   Universalium

  • nephropathy — noun Damage to, disease of, or abnormality of the kidneys. Syn: kidney disease, nephrosis, renal disorder, renopathy …   Wiktionary

  • nephropathy — n. disease of the kidneys (Pathology) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • nephropathy — ne·phrop·a·thy …   English syllables

  • nephropathy — ne•phrop•a•thy [[t]nəˈfrɒp ə θi[/t]] n. pat any disease of the kidney • Etymology: 1915–20 neph•ro•path•ic ˌnɛf rəˈpæθ ɪk adj …   From formal English to slang

  • hypokalemic nephropathy — nephropathy with hypokalemia, interstitial nephritis, swelling and vacuolation of proximal renal tubules, and progressive renal failure, resulting from long term conditions such as oncotic overloading of the kidney filtration mechanisms by sugars …   Medical dictionary

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