Lupus Nephritis

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

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.

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.