What Is Lupus Nephritis?

Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). SLE is a chronic, complex, and often disabling autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is one in which the body’s immune system (which fights off bacteria, viruses, and germs) attacks the body’s own cells, tissues, and organs.

Lupus Nephritis and Your Kidneys

With lupus nephritis, your kidneys cannot function properly to remove waste from your blood and control the amount of fluids in your body. Kidney disease caused by lupus may get worse over time and could lead to kidney (renal) failure, which is serious but treatable. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health.

SLE is a complex disorder, affecting many parts of the body

KidneysInflammation HeartChest pains, heart murmurs Overall HealthFatigue, fever, joint pain, muscle aches, photosensitivity, rashes, hair loss, oral ulcers, anxiety, and depression Central Nervous SystemHeadaches, dizziness, memory disturbances, vision problems, seizures, stroke, or changes in behavior LungsPleuritis, inflammation, or pneumonia BloodAnemia, decreased white cells, increased risk of blood clots

Who Develops Lupus Nephritis?

About one-third of adults have lupus nephritis at diagnosis of SLE. Up to 50% of people with SLE will go on to develop lupus nephritis. No one knows what causes lupus nephritis, although family history and environmental factors (such as viruses, toxic chemicals, or pollutants) may play a role.

In adults with SLE...
About ONE-THIRD have lupus nephritis at DIAGNOSIS
Up to 5 OUT OF 10 develop lupus nephritis OVER TIME
Approximately 1 IN 5 with lupus nephritis are thought to be undiagnosed

Guide to Talking with Your Doctor

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