There are various types of lupus and lupus nephritis is one of them. It is a complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) where the kidney is inflamed.
Three out of ten lupus patients will develop serious symptoms requiring immediate medical diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of Lupus Nephritis
Delaying treatment may prove fatal; symptoms of this type of SLE may be different in every individual. Here are common symptoms to watch out for:
- Weight gain
- Noticeable swelling around the eyes, ankles, fingers and legs especially after walking throughout the day
- Dark-colored urine
- Frothy urine
- Frequent urination at night
- Kidney failure for severe cases
Similar to all lupus types, the cause may also be attributed to infections, viruses or environment as well as genetically inherited. Lupus nephritis affects mostly women in their childbearing years.
Lupus is a mysterious disorder and sometimes imitates the symptoms of other disorders. For thorough diagnosis, your doctor or rheumatologist might suggest blood tests to correctly diagnose SLE.
- X-rays of the kidneys
- Blood tests to check for lower level of protein in blood, salt and water imbalance in the blood, and presence of high levels of antibodies.
- Urine tests to check for the presence of red and white blood cells in the urine or high levels of protein.
- Imaging studies to show the shape and size of the surfaces of the kidney.
- A biopsy of the kidney involving a sample taken of kidney tissue to examine under a microscope.
Because no two individuals have similar symptoms of lupus nephritis, suit the individual’s treatment to his or her need. Any of the following treatment may be prescribed by your doctor:
- Immunosuppressant or medications to decrease swelling, lower blood pressures and decrease inflammation.
- Corticosteroids to prevent blood clotting are prescribed and tapered down until symptoms of lupus nephritis subside.
- Cytotoxic drugs to suppress the immune system and prevent kidney damage.
- Diet of limited protein, sodium and potassium to maintain healthy weight.
- Kidney failure may need dialysis and at worse, kidney transplant
Lupus nephritis patients are at risk of hypertension.
Check lupus nephritis symptoms if you want to understand your lupus SLE disease. Unfortunately, there is no cure for lupus but you can stop it from getting out of hand.