People suffering from lupus erythematosus often suffer from the complication of nephritis. This is due to the autoimmune nature of this disease, i.e., the immune system produces autoantibodies. As a result of this, the immune cells attack healthy cells and tissues, and thereby damage organs. In lupus nephritis, autoimmunity damages the kidney, and this causes renal issues. In this article we will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of lupus nephritis; read ahead to know more about this.
What Is Lupus Nephritis?
Lupus nephritis develops when the immune system attacks and damages the functional structures of the kidneys called nephrons. As a result, the kidneys are unable to filter out waste from the blood.
Listed below are the symptoms of lupus nephritis:
- Blood in urine
- High blood pressure
- Foamy urine due to the presence of excess protein in it
- Elevated levels of creatinine in the blood
- Swelling in feet or ankles, and hands
What Are The Risk Factors For Lupus Nephritis?
There are not any specific risk factors that lead to the development of lupus nephritis. That said, some of the more generalized observations are listed below:
- Although women have more likelihood of getting lupus, men are more likely to develop lupus nephritis.
- Asian Americans, Blacks, Hispanics, or Latinos have higher chances of developing lupus nephritis.
How Is Lupus Nephritis Diagnosed?
Blood And Urine Test
Blood and urine tests are the standard ones; they help to detect creatinine in blood, and protein and blood in the urine. Besides, you will be asked to collect urine samples for an entire day. These tests help to precisely evaluate the renal function as well as damage to the kidneys.
A small kidney tissue sample is removed for analysis. This helps to evaluate the severity of damage due to lupus nephritis. Because of this, a kidney biopsy is the most definitive test to diagnose this condition.
What Are The Treatments For Lupus Nephritis?
Remember that there is no permanent cure for autoimmune diseases, and most treatments focus on the following:
- Reducing the severity of symptoms or make them disappear
- Prolong the remission
- Slow down or stop the progress of the disease
- Avoid dialysis or kidney transplant
The drugs used for treating lupus nephritis suppress the immune systems, and listed below are some of them:
- Steroids like prednisone
However, in some cases, the immunosuppressants do not work, and such patients might opt for new therapies.
These are some of the important points that you must know about lupus nephritis, and we hope that the aforementioned details clarified your doubts.