Lupus nephritisNephritis - lupus; Lupus glomerular disease
Lupus nephritis, which is a kidney disorder, is a complication of systemic lupus erythematosus.
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It c...
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus) is an autoimmune disease. This means there is a problem with the body's immune system.
An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 types of aut...
Normally, the immune system helps protect the body from infection or harmful substances. But in people with an autoimmune disease, the immune system cannot tell the difference between harmful substances and healthy ones. As a result, the immune system attacks otherwise healthy cells and tissues.
SLE may damage different parts of the kidney. This can lead to disorders such as:
Symptoms of lupus nephritis include:
- Blood in the urine
- Foamy appearance to urine
- Swelling (edema) of any area of the body
- High blood pressure
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. Abnormal sounds may be heard when the provider listens to your heart and lungs.
Tests that may be done include:
- ANA titer
BUN and creatinine
BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen. Urea nitrogen is what forms when protein breaks down. A test can be done to measure the amount of urea nitrogen ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Complement levels
- Urine protein
- Kidney biopsy, to determine appropriate treatment
The goal of treatment is to improve kidney function and to delay kidney failure.
Medicines may include drugs that suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, or azathioprine.
You may need dialysis to control symptoms of kidney failure, sometimes for only a while. A kidney transplant may be recommended. People with active lupus should not have a transplant because the condition can occur in the transplanted kidney.
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy is a muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue that gets worse over time.
How well you do, depends on the specific form of lupus nephritis. You may have flare-ups, and then times when you do not have any symptoms.
Some people with this condition develop long-term (chronic) kidney failure.
Although lupus nephritis may return in a transplanted kidney, it rarely leads to end-stage kidney disease.
Complications that may result from lupus nephritis include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Blood in your urine
Blood in your urine is called hematuria. The amount may be very small and only detected with urine tests or under a microscope. In other cases, the...
Swelling is the enlargement of organs, skin, or other body parts. It is caused by a buildup of fluid in the tissues. The extra fluid can lead to a ...
If you have lupus nephritis, call your provider if you notice decreased urine output.
Decreased urine output
Decreased urine output means that you produce less urine than normal. Most adults make at least 500 mL of urine in 24 hours (a little over 2 cups)....
Treating lupus may help prevent or delay onset of lupus nephritis.
Hahn BH, McMahon M, Wilkinson A, et al. American College of Rheumatology guidelines for screening, case definition, treatment and management of lupus nephritis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2012;64(6):797-808. PMCID: 3437757 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437757.
Wadhwani S, Jayne D, Rovin BH. Lupus nephritis. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 26.
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Kidney anatomy - illustration
The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and the stimulation of red blood cell production.
Review Date: 7/16/2019
Reviewed By: Walead Latif, MD, Nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.