Inflammation of the nephrons, the structures within the kidneys that filter the blood is called glomerulonephritis or nephritis. Lupus nephritis is the term used when lupus causes inflammation in your kidneys making them unable to properly remove waste from your blood or control the amount of fluids in your body.
Abnormal levels of waste can build up in the blood and edema (swelling) can develop. Left untreated, nephritis can lead to scarring and permanent damage to the kidneys and possibly end-stage renal disease (ESRD). People with ESRD need regular filtering of their body’s waste done by a machine (dialysis) or a kidney transplant so that at least one kidney is working properly.
Lupus nephritis symptoms are similar to those of other kidney diseases. They include:
There’s no cure for lupus nephritis. The goal of treatment is to keep the problem from getting worse. Stopping kidney damage early can prevent the need for a kidney transplant. Treatment can also provide relief from lupus symptoms.
Common treatments include:
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