Bright’s Disease: Causes & Symptoms

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Bright’s disease is an archaic term used to describe a host of kidney diseases that include acute/chronic nephritis or glomerulonephritis (GN). The term is no longer in use since better-understood etiologies have been developed for more succinct classification by modern medicine.

What is Bright’s Disease?

Bright’s disease is a broad term that has been historically used to describe the symptoms of nephritis and other inflammatory diseases of the kidney. It is caused due to an infection of the filtering units of the kidney (glomeruli) by Streptococcus bacteria. The symptoms of chronic nephritis were first noted by English physician Richard Bright in 1827, hence the name, which has only a historical application today.



Nephritis occurs when there is severe inflammation of kidney cells and if left unchecked may lead to severe cases limiting daily activities. A common cause of nephritis is a streptococcal infection, which leads to an immune reaction and damages the glomeruli, which act as the kidney’s filtration centers. Other causes of nephritis include inflammation of blood vessels in the kidney and a range of immune disorders that cause glomerulonephritis.


Excretion of protein (proteinuria) and occasional blood (hematuria) in the urine are the foremost indicators of Bright’s disease. Other symptoms of Bright’s disease include the following:

There are other forms of nephritis and inflammatory infections of blood vessels in the kidney that cause symptoms akin to Bright’s disease. This is why the term covers various causes and closely related symptoms of inflammatory disorders of the kidney.

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