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Most people believe kidneys to be organs solely responsible for the filtration of blood and production of urine. But the truth is that the kidneys perform a host of vital functions in the body which include regulation of blood pressure, blood volume, and blood Ph. Around half of the individuals affected by lupus suffer from kidney problems, and the most affected part is the glomerulus whose function is filtering substances from the blood.
Effects of lupus nephritis on the kidneys
Lupus itself doesn’t lead to kidney infection or inflammation. But lupus nephritis, which is the Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that affects the kidneys and the medications used for treating the condition tend to suppress the immune system. It makes the person affected with lupus vulnerable to the infections of various types. It is one of the most severe conditions of that could be encountered by a person wherein the immune system starts attacking various parts of the body as they would tackle a disease.
Lupus nephritis makes the kidney unable to remove the waste materials effectively from the blood. This leads to loss of control over the amounts of fluids regulating in the body. As a result, an abnormal amount of waste can build up in the blood resulting in edema or swelling.
When left untreated, these conditions can cause scarring along with permanent damage to the kidneys and end-stage renal disease. When a person has end stage renal disease, he or she needs regular filtering of the waste products of the body with the help of a machine. In severe cases, a kidney transplant may be required to ensure that at least one kidney is working properly.
Individuals who are susceptible to developing lupus nephritis:
A person with lupus may see the symptoms of lupus nephritis within 5 years and the people aged between 20 and 40 years are most vulnerable to it. In some common instances, it is seen that lupus nephritis is leading to unexplained weight gain along with swelling and puffiness in different parts of the body such as ankles, hands, eyelids, legs, and feet. During the first stages, these symptoms are often ignored which causes worsening of the condition. The urine may also become frothy or foamy with a reddish tinge in it. It is estimated that about 40 percent of children having lupus would develop kidney complications. Lupus nephritis may also cause increased urination, blood in the urine and elevated blood pressure.
If you have lupus, it is imperative to consult with a nephrologist. Testing a sample of the urine can help in showing the problems in the functioning of the kidneys. Your doctor will advise you about the diagnostic tests that can help in determining whether the disease has progressed to severe levels and start with the treatment process accordingly.
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