Lupus Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidney that is caused by systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. It is just one complication of SLE.
SLE is an immune system disease, the causes of which are unknown. It causes damage to the glomerulus (the filtering structures of the kidneys) and progressive kidney dysfunction. About one third of people with lupus will develop nephritis.
If you have SLE, you may have no symptoms of kidney disease. However, you might have symptoms such as high blood pressure, dark-colored urine, weight gain or edema (swelling) around your eyes, legs, ankles, or hands. SLE can also cause protein to leak into the urine, which is characterized by foamy or frothy urine.
SLE also leads to other kidney disorders. Nephrotic syndrome, end stage renal disease, and acute and chronic renal failures are some examples. Many patients with Lupus Nephritis will need kidney dialysis or kidney transplants if their kidneys do not become balanced. The goal of treatment for Lupus Nephritis is to improve kidney function, and there are several ways to do this.
Corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive medications are the usual western forms of treatment. However, what your health care practitioner decides will probably be based on the results of your kidney biopsy. Urinalysis, blood tests, and imaging studies are other ways your doctor may examine you in order to make a proper diagnosis. People with lupus often experience urinary tract infections and other urinary tract problems.