What is Renal Parenchymal Disease? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Also known as: kidney parenchymal disease, renal parenchyma of the kidney, bilateral renal parenchyma diseases.

What are renal parenchyma diseases?

The renal parenchyma is the functional part of the kidney that includes the renal cortex (the outermost part of the kidney) and the renal medulla.

  • The renal cortex contains the approximately 1 million nephrons (these have glomeruli which are the primary filterer of blood passing through the kidney, and renal tubules which modify the fluid to produce the appropriate amount/content of urine).
  • The renal medulla consists primarily of tubules/ducts which are the beginning of the collecting system that allows the urine to flow onwards to being excreted.

Renal parenchyma disease describes medical conditions which damage these parts of the kidney. These diseases may be congenital, hereditary or acquired.

What causes renal parenchyma diseases?

Causes vary and include:

What are the signs/symptoms of renal parenchyma diseases?

As the kidneys regulate the amount of fluid in the body and adjust the salts in the blood to reflect metabolic activity, (plus other hormonal functions), common signs include:

  • ​swelling of hands/feet/eyes (edema)
  • high blood pressure
  • anemia
  • bone changes
  • blood in the urine
  • abdominal swelling

Common symptoms include loss of appetite, itching, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, joint pain, frequent night urination and dizziness.

What are renal parenchyma diseases care options?

Treatments depends on the underlying cause and controlling that, plus alleviating symptoms and preventing complications are the focus of management.

Medications, fluid management, attention to calorie intake, dietary changes, dialysis and possibly kidney transplantation are all frequently utilized.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 24, 2021 01:59 PM


The Division of Nephrology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital treats kidney disorders and provides comprehensive evaluation of renal functions, including kidney biopsies.

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