Lupus is also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the other organs of the body. Among the most serious complications of this disease is lupus nephritis. It occurs when lupus causes the immune system to target the kidney responsible for filtering waste products from the blood.
Your kidneys play an immensely crucial role in your body’s proper functioning because they eliminate waste and clean your blood. So if your kidneys get damaged, you’ll become very sick and might require frequent dialysis treatment, and in more severe cases, a kidney transplantation surgery.
Lupus Nephritis Warning Signs
Generally speaking, symptoms of lupus nephritis look similar to signs of other kidney problems. It could cause various symptoms that may differ from one person to another. These symptoms are:
- High blood pressure that can’t be controlled with medications and lifestyle changes
- Edema or water retention. When you have lupus nephritis, your body retains excess water because your kidneys can’t eliminate it. This will result in swelling in various body parts, such as your ankles, legs, etc., and lead to sudden weight gain due to all the water buildup in your body.
- Kidney issues that may likewise lead to blood seeping into the urine, making it light brown or pinkish
Treating Lupus Nephritis
Lupus nephritis, unfortunately, isn’t curable. Hence, the primary aim of treatment is to reduce the burden on your kidneys and prevent it from sustaining more damage and the need for kidney transplantation later on. That being said, the following treatments could offer relief from your symptoms:
- Reduce your salt and protein intake.
- Take your blood pressure medication regularly.
- Take medication such as mycophenolate-mofetil or cyclophosphamide for suppressing the immune system.
- Take steroids like prednisone to decrease inflammation and swelling.
Do note, though, that if you’re a woman and are planning on having children in the future, you need to discuss the potential effects of treatment with your doctor. This way, your doctor can work out ways to ensure that your treatment will be more appropriate to your current and future needs.
It is also immensely crucial to keep in mind that kidney failure is the most serious complication of lupus nephritis. When this happens, you will require either regular dialysis from reputable San Antonio dialysis clinics, or in more severe cases, a kidney transplantation surgery.
Living with Lupus
Managing an illness like lupus is a challenge since patients experience various symptoms that are often not necessarily connected with the disease. But there are ways to manage these symptoms and enable you to live your everyday life.
If you feel fatigued, make sure to sleep at least seven hours a day and take a 20-minute map sometime in the day. These could lessen fatigue. It’s also best to make plans and schedules, but provide intervals when you don’t need to follow a schedule.
If you experience extensive pain in your joints and muscles, explore gentle activities such as yoga and stretching. Meditation and acupressure have also been quite useful for some patients, so ask your physician what would work best for you.
If you need to see a doctor or receive some dental service or procedure, make sure to inform them first of your condition. If you have a dental appointment, tell your dentist of any oral inflammation so that any operation would be done gently and avoid possible tissue disruptions. It’s best to keep a medical journal so you could inform your doctor of the symptoms and side effects the next time you see them.
Vital Points to Keep in Mind
The outlook for individuals who suffer from lupus nephritis will differ from one individual to another. In most cases, individuals will only experience intermittent symptoms, and the damage to their kidneys may only be seen during routine urine tests. With that said, you will need to follow your treatment plan to a tee and go to your scheduled doctor’s appointments lab tests to slow down the kidney damage and safeguard it from more serious complications.