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How Does Lupus Affect the Kidneys?

    Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your own immune system attacks your body organs and tissues. The inflammation that results can affect various body systems including your skin, joints, kidneys, heart, brain cells, and lungs. Lupus in Barker Cypress extensively evaluates your kidney function and determines the appropriate treatment. depending on the disease severity.  

    Lupus tends to be a localized condition and is not primarily systemic. There is currently no known cure for lupus. The treatments focus on reducing inflammation and easing the symptoms. Without the proper treatment, a mild version of lupus can become very severe. There are some combinations of underlying factors that are thought to cause lupus, including;

    • Environment: Potential triggers such as stress, smoking, and exposure to toxins have been identified by healthcare providers as potential causes of lupus.
    • Genetics: Over 50 genes with an association to lupus have been identified. A family history of lupus puts you at risk of experiencing the lupus condition.
    • Infections: Studies are still being carried out by healthcare providers to establish the link between some infections and causes of lupus. Such infections include Epstein-Barr and Cytomegalovirus.
    • Medications: Prolonged use of some medications such as quinidine and hydralazine have been linked with drug-induced lupus erythematosus (DIL). Patients under medication for inflammatory bowel disease have also been known to develop DIL.

    Inflammation of the kidneys that is caused when lupus is systemic is known as lupus nephritis. When your kidneys are inflamed, they are unable to function normally and can even leak protein. Failure to control lupus nephritis may result in kidney failure. About 60% of lupus patients develop lupus nephritis.  

    Symptoms of Lupus Nephritis

    Although lupus nephritis is a serious condition, its symptoms are sometimes mild. The first noticeable symptom is usually the swelling of ankles, feet, and legs. Less often the hands and legs can also swell. Other symptoms that vary among patients include:

    • Gaining of weight
    • High blood pressure
    • Increased need to urinate at night

    Lupus nephritis predisposes patients to urinary tract infections. Such infections require treatment with antibiotics since they cause burning during urination. Certain medications used to treat lupus also affect the kidneys, causing similar symptoms to those brought about by lupus nephritis. Such complications related to drugs usually end when the dosage is complete.

    Diagnosis and Treatment of Lupus Nephritis

    Diagnosis begins with evaluation of symptoms, your medical history and carrying out of a physical exam. Tests used to confirm the diagnosis include blood tests, urine tests and imaging the tests such as kidney biopsy and ultrasound.

    Since severity and symptoms vary from patient to patient, treatments are tailored to meet your particular circumstance. The biopsy helps in determining your tailor-made treatment. The medications used to treat lupus nephritis include:

    • Immunosuppressive drugs
    • Corticosteroids
    • Anti-clotting drugs

    Lifestyle Habits for Lupus Nephritis

    There are certain lifestyle changes that go a long way in protecting your kidneys. They include the following:

    • Drinking enough fluids in order to stay well hydrated
    • Eating low-sodium diets that regulate hypertension
    • Exercising regularly
    • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking
    • Limiting your cholesterol intake

    Although lupus nephritis is a complex disorder, you can receive treatment and avoid going on to kidney failure.