This information is from the following webpage: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov and discusses the basics of kidney involvement and lupus. It is informational and just shows the basics. If you have questions, please discuss them with your doctor.
What is lupus nephritis?
Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a disease of the immune system. SLE typically causes harm to the skin, joints, kidneys, and brain.
The causes of SLE are unknown. Many factors may play a role, including
- gender—SLE is more common in women than men
- heredity—a gene passed down by a parent
- environmental causes
What are the symptoms of lupus nephritis?
Lupus nephritis may cause weight gain, high blood pressure, dark urine, or swelling around the eyes, legs, ankles, or fingers. However, some people with SLE have no overt symptoms of kidney disease, which must be diagnosed by blood and urine tests.
How is lupus nephritis diagnosed?
Diagnosis may require urine and blood tests as well as a kidney biopsy.
- Urine test: Blood or protein in the urine is a sign of kidney damage.
- Blood test: The kidneys remove waste materials like creatinine and urea from the blood. If the blood contains high levels of these substances, kidney function is declining. Your doctor should estimate your glomerular filtration rate based on your creatinine score.
- Kidney biopsy: A biopsy is a procedure to obtain a tissue sample for examination with a microscope. To obtain a sample of your kidney tissue, your doctor will insert a long needle through the skin. Examining the tissue with a microscope can confirm the diagnosis of lupus nephritis and help to determine how far the disease has progressed.
How is lupus nephritis treated?
Treatment depends on the symptoms and test results. Medicines called corticosteroids can decrease swelling and inflammation by suppressing the immune system. Additional immunosuppressive drugs related to cancer and drugs used to prevent rejection of organ transplants may also be used. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) or mycophenolate (CellCept). Newer experimental treatments include a drug called rituximab (Rituxan).
You may need one or more medicines to control your blood pressure.
You may need to limit protein, sodium, and potassium in your diet.
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For More Information
Lupus nephritis is also classified as a glomerular disease. For more information, see the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse publication Glomerular Diseases.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has online publications about Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and The Many Shades of Lupus (easy-to-read).
More information is also available from
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892–3675
Phone: 1–877–22–NIAMS (226–4267) or 301–495–4484
Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.
2000 L Street NW, Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 1–800–558–0121 or 202–349–1155
You may also find additional information about this topic by visiting MedlinePlus at www.medlineplus.gov.
This publication may contain information about medications. When prepared, this publication included the most current information available. For updates or for questions about any medications, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toll-free at 1–888–INFO–FDA (1–888–463–6332) or visit www.fda.gov. Consult your doctor for more information.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
3 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3580
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1987, the Clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The NKUDIC answers inquiries, develops and distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.
Publications produced by the Clearinghouse are carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts.
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