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Lupus Nephritis

Renal Clinic of Houston

Nephrology located in Katy, TX & Memorial City, Houston, TX

40% of individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have a condition called lupus nephritis, which affects their kidneys. The board-certified physicians at the Renal Clinic of Houston have extensive experience helping patients stay in remission and prevent lupus nephritis from causing ongoing kidney damage. To get the expert care you need to maintain optimal health, call the office in Memorial City in Houston, Katy, or North Cypress, Texas, or use the online booking feature today.

Lupus Nephritis Q&A

What is lupus nephritis?

chronic kidney disease

Lupus nephritis occurs when SLE progresses to affect your kidneys. As an autoimmune disorder, SLE begins when your immune system attacks healthy organs, causing permanent tissue damage.

SLE usually begins in your skin and joints. Then the disease can progress to affect many other organs, including your kidneys. Lupus nephritis usually appears within 3-5 years after the onset of SLE.

Lupus nephritis causes kidney inflammation. Without early treatment, the inflammation damages the kidney, leading to chronic kidney disease and potentially kidney failure.

What symptoms develop if I have lupus nephritis?

People who develop lupus nephritis have symptoms caused by SLE, as well as kidney-related symptoms. No matter where SLE appears, the symptoms tend to flare up when the disease becomes active, and then they go into remission for a time before something triggers another flare.

Since SLE affects many different organs, you can have a wide range of symptoms. Some of the most common include:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Butterfly shaped rash on your face
  • Skin rash with raised oval lesions
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye inflammation
  • Headaches
  • Mouth sores
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to sunlight

Lupus nephritis causes symptoms such as foamy urine, blood in your urine, and swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet. As your kidneys suffer progressive damage, you may start to experience symptoms of chronic kidney disease, including:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle cramps
  • Itchy skin
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Urinating more or less than usual

Kidney disease often causes secondary hypertension (high blood pressure). 

How is lupus nephritis treated?

Your provider at the Renal Clinic of Houston performs diagnostic tests to determine the severity of your lupus nephritis. Then they customize your treatment with a focus on easing your symptoms, preventing progressive kidney damage, and keeping the disease in remission.

Your lupus nephritis treatment plan may include:

  • Avoiding triggers
  • Dietary changes
  • Steroids
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Biologic medications
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs

If your kidney disease progresses despite lifestyle changes and medications, you may need dialysis to filter fluid and wastes from your blood. In some cases, you may eventually need a kidney transplant.

If you have SLE and start having signs of lupus nephritis, don't wait to seek an evaluation at the Renal Clinic of Houston. To schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking feature today.