Lupusnephritis is one of the most common and severe complications of an autoimmune, chronic, incurable and complex disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and this also affects other organs such as heart, skin, brain, etc. causing widespread inflammation and damage to the tissues of the affected organs.
In the case of the kidney, lupus produces a severe inflammation called glomerulonephritis and symptoms are sometimes only detected in routine blood or urine tests in patients with this autoimmune disease, micro-bleeding and high levels of proteins can be found in the urine.
In other cases it develops through nephrotic syndrome that usually causes widespread swelling of the body (feet, ankles, legs, hands and face) and very frothy urine by removing large amounts of protein in the urine, which can acquire a reddish or dark color as a loaded tea. “Many times the Lupus debuts in this way and in serious situations causes Acute and Chronic Renal Insufficiency which may lead to need dialysis or kidney transplantation,” said León, representative of the Peruvian Society of Nephrology.
Leon also reported that this kidney complication occurs most often in the first five years after the onset of Lupus symptoms and that lupus usually affects people between 20 and 40 years of age.
Lupus affects women more, but when it occurs in males and children, the disease is usually more severe and fatal.
Because Lupus often debuts from kidney damage, lupus nephritis cannot always be prevented, but in those who have this disease and there is still no kidney complication, timely treatment can decrease the risk of kidney damage.
So far, there’s no cure for Lupus. However, by using medications and lifestyle changes it is possible to control their progression.
If Lupic Nephritis progresses despite treatment for End-stage Chronic Renal Disease, it should be evaluated what is the best option for renal replacement therapy and the most opportune time to receive kidney transplantation.
When to suspect Lupus?
The symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus are many and usually vary from person to person, however, there are some that might suggest we have this disease and, therefore, we should go to the doctor for a discard and also, to have a positive diagnosis, undergo an evaluation of renal function to detect lupus nephritis early.
Symptoms that may occur include:
Joint pain or swelling
Fever with no known cause
Red rashes on the skin, usually on the face and in the shape of a butterfly
Chest pain when breathing deeply
Pale or purple fingers or toes with exposure to cold
Sensitivity to the sun
Swelling in the legs or around the eyes
Extreme tiredness or fatigue