What is Lupus Nephritis?
posted by Nephrology | March 1, 2017
There are two primary types of kidney disease: acute kidney injury (single instances of lost kidney function) and chronic kidney disease (consistent loss of kidney function over three months or longer). There are a number of diseases that can lead to chronic kidney disease, and many of these originate elsewhere in the body.
One example of this is called lupus nephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys caused by systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. You may recognize the word “lupus”—this is a separate condition that affects the immune system and its ability to protect your body from disease.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means it is caused by the immune system turning against the body and damaging organs and tissues. Lupus nephritis develops when the kidneys are damaged. Only SLE can cause lupus nephritis, and about 60 percent of all total lupus patients also develop lupus nephritis.
There are many types of lupus:
The symptoms of lupus nephritis are different for everyone, and may not always show up right away—or at all. Some of them can include:
There are no known causes of lupus nephritis. However, there are a few factors that can increase your risk:
Diagnosing lupus nephritis starts with a basic examination including a family history review, symptom assessment and a physical. Special tests are done to test for lupus nephritis:
If you have lupus nephritis, the main goal of treatment is to block the body’s immune system from continuing to attack itself. There are a few medications that are usually prescribed:
There are a few habits that can help you prevent lupus nephritis, or manage symptoms if you do develop it. These include:
If you’re worried you might have some of the symptoms of lupus nephritis, speak to your doctor right away. Quick treatment can often help eliminate some of the worst symptoms, and can help you avoid a kidney transplant.
“Lupus and Kidney Disease (Lupus Nephritis).” National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/lupus
“Lupus Nephritis.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/lupus/lupus-nephritis#1
“Are There Various Forms of Lupus?” Lupus Foundation of America. http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/forms-of-lupus
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.