Lupus Nephritis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment
What is lupus nephritis?
Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus). SLE is an autoimmune disease. Lupus nephritis caused by SLE may get worse over time and lead to kidney failure.
What causes lupus nephritis?
Lupus nephritis occurs when systemic lupus erythematosus involves kidneys. SLE can damage different parts of the kidney. This may lead to disorders, such as interstitial nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and membranous glomerulonephritis.
What are the symptoms of lupus nephritis?
The following are the symptoms of lupus nephritis:
- Blood in the urine
- Foamy appearance of urine
- Edema (swelling of any part of the body)
- High blood pressure
How is lupus nephritis diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a physical exam and review your symptoms. The doctor may hear abnormal sounds in your heart and lungs during examination by a stethoscope.
The doctor may order the following tests for diagnosis:
- Urine protein
- ANA titer
- BUN and creatinine
- Complement levels
- Kidney biopsy to help determine appropriate treatment
How is lupus nephritis treated?
The treatment aims to improve kidney function and to delay kidney failure. The doctor may treat with immunosuppressant medicines, such as corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, or azathioprine.
Sometimes, the affected person may need dialysis to control symptoms of kidney failure. The doctor may also recommend a kidney transplant.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.