Lupus nephritis – Signs and management options

Lupus nephritis – Signs and management options

The kidneys are responsible for various bodily functions, including filtering and eliminating waste products through urination. These vital organs are also susceptible to various health complications, including lupus nephritis, a type of autoimmune kidney disease that could deteriorate their condition over time. It is a disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s cells and organs. Kidney disease caused by lupus nephritis may worsen with time and lead to kidney failure.

Signs of lupus nephritis
The symptoms of lupus nephritis may differ from one individual to the other. Individuals may experience swelling in the ankles, legs, feet, and less often in the hands or face, which occurs when the body has too much fluid (edema). Some people with this type of kidney disease might suffer from high blood pressure. Other signs may include:

– Blood in the urine
– Foamy urine due to too much protein
– High levels of creatine in the blood
– Joint pain or swelling
– Sudden fever without any underlying cause
– Muscle pain

Other than these symptoms, some patients may also develop a red rash, usually across the nose, face, and cheeks.

Treatment options
An individual should note that a cure for lupus nephritis is yet to be determined. In the meantime, an expert might recommend various treatment options to help alleviate the symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. The goal of these treatments is to reduce inflammation in the kidneys, block the body’s immune cells from attacking the kidneys directly or making antibodies that attack the kidneys, and decrease immune system activity. A few common treatment options may include:

The first line of treatment for lupus nephritis is prescriptions. The healthcare expert might recommend various options to suppress the immune system. Lupus nephritis may cause high blood pressure in some individuals, so one might need multiple prescriptions to control blood pressure.

It is a type of treatment that helps the body remove excess fluid and waste products from the blood when the kidneys are unable to do so. The treatment options also help regulate the patient’s blood pressure and maintain safe levels of minerals in the blood, including sodium, calcium, bicarbonate, and potassium. Dialysis is typically conducted at a hospital, a dialysis center, or at home by an expert. The patient and doctor usually decide on the type of dialysis and the place ideal for the treatment based on one’s health condition and preferences.

Kidney transplant
A kidney transplant is a surgery carried out to replace a damaged kidney with a healthy one from a donor. The kidney could come from a deceased organ donor or a living donor. Even family members or others who are a good match could donate one of their kidneys. The type of transplant is called a living transplant. The patient might also receive prescriptions to ensure the body does not reject the new kidney. While lupus nephritis may not recur after a transplant, one needs to get regular health checks to detect any potential health risks and address them at the earliest.

Lifestyle changes
Apart from the treatments, one might benefit from alternative lifestyle changes to cope with lupus nephritis. These include:

Nutritional changes
Eating healthy meals is essential for individuals who might be diagnosed with kidney disease such as lupus nephritis. The expert might recommend cutting down on salt intake, which could otherwise build up in the body when the kidneys do not function properly and cause retention. The complication might lead to swelling in the legs and abdomen and raise one’s blood pressure. Additionally, one might have to monitor mineral intake, such as potassium and calcium. It is best to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and water in one’s meal plan, all of which contribute to a healthier lifestyle. The individual should ensure their meal regime is verified by a professional before they make changes to their daily food intake.

Regular exercise
An individual affected by lupus nephritis might also need to include exercise in their daily routines to manage blood pressure, as it may worsen the progression of kidney failure. One must practice low-impact activities like walking, yoga, or jogging for at least 30 minutes a day, as it may help one better manage symptoms of lupus nephritis.

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