Lupus nephritis is the medical term used to refer to the swelling and irritation of the kidney that occurs as a result of the autoimmune disease, lupus. Autoimmune disease is characterized by the attack launched by the immune system on healthy cells. Attack on the kidneys by the immune system damages the kidneys, and the damage could be severe in some cases Proliferative nephritis is the most severe form of lupus nephritis. It can scar the kidneys.
Diagnosing Lupus Nephritis
You can develop lupus nephritis only if you have lupus. If you already have lupus and notice the following signs, it is high time you consult your physician and get your kidney health tested.
- High blood pressure
- Bubbly urine(This signals the presence of protein in your urine)
- Swelling in the legs, ankle, feet, and even on hands and face.
To diagnose lupus nephritis, urine tests are conducted to test for the presence of blood or protein in the urine. Traces of blood and protein in the urine can indicate the unhealthy state of kidneys. In addition to urine tests, blood tests are also used as a diagnostic tool. In blood tests, the amount of creatinine in the blood is checked. A higher level of creatinine in the blood is a sign of kidney malfunction.
If blood and urine tests give evidence for a kidney issue, your doctor might want you to take a kidney biopsy to detect the signs of lupus nephritis.
Lupus Nephritis Treatment
Diagnosing lupus nephritis at the earliest helps prevent further damage to the kidneys. This is what all the treatments focus on. As it is an autoimmune disorder, doctors generally prescribe immune suppressant drugs to handle the condition. The drugs weaken your immune system and prevent it from causing severe damage to the kidneys.
Medicines to lower blood pressure are also given to lupus nephritis patients because high blood pressure is a common cause of kidney failure. Excess fluid levels in your body could contribute to blood pressure and increase the strain on your heart. If your doctor finds out that your body is retaining water in levels higher than what it should hold normally, they might prescribe diuretic medicines that help the body get rid of excess water.
Lupus nephritis can cause several complications over time. It could lead to permanent kidney damage, referred to as chronic kidney disease. The scars formed in the kidney by proliferative nephritis disturb the healthy functioning of the kidneys.
If you are already undergoing lupus treatment, watch out for the signs of lupus nephritis so that you can detect it at the early stages itself and take appropriate treatment.