Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) or lupus, which is an autoimmune disorder. It mostly affects on joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood, or brain.
The kidneys play an important role in body’s functioning. If they are impaired, they cannot remove wastes from your blood. The antibodies produced by the lupus attacks on the glomeruli of the kidney, making them unfunctional. Untreated lupus nephritis can lead to permanent damage of the kidney. It occurs mostly in ages between 20 and 40.
Lupus nephritis is caused by SLE. The body’s own immune system develops antibodies and attacks in different areas in the body. It attacks on the filtering structures of kidney (glomeruli) and reduces their functioning leading to accumulation of waste products in the body.
Upon diagnosis of lupus nephritis, the severity of damage is represented by staging. The stages of lupus nephritis include:Stage 1: No evidence of lupus nephritis.
The diagnostic tests for lupus nephritis include:Blood Tests: Blood tests are required to check the levels of waste products, such as creatinine and urea. If the test shows increased levels of waste products in the blood, it may indicate lupus nephritis.
Treatment for lupus nephritis is based on the stage and severity of nephritis. The goal of treatment is to improve kidney functioning and delay or prevent kidney failure. There is no cure for lupus nephritis. The medications include:Immunosuppressive Drugs: These are medications are used to suppress the immune system, such that it stops attacking and damaging the kidneys. Cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, and mycophenolate are some of the medications used in the treatment.
Dialysis and kidney transplant are required for patients with kidney failure due to lupus nephritis.