As you all know, lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect nearly any part of your body, with common affected sites being the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, or brain. Today we’d like to highlight one of these commonly affected organs and its’ relation to Lupus: the kidneys.
Kidneys are the key organs of the body’s renal system, responsible for maintaining the correct amount and balance of body fluids as well as removing waste products and toxic substances. This organ set also plays a crucial role in regulating the hormones directly related to blood pressure and blood volume control. Combined, these functions make the kidneys an extremely vital component of your body’s wellness and health maintenance.
Knowing this, the potential impact of lupus on the kidneys can cause a variety of symptoms and pain. When lupus directly targets kidneys, inflammation in the nephrons (structures within the kidney that filter blood) occurs. This inflammation hinders the kidneys, drastically reducing their ability to properly remove waste from your blood as well as control the balance of fluids in your body. This condition is known as Lupus Nephritis.
As a result of Lupus Nephritis, abnormal levels of waste can develop within the blood and swelling may occur. Left untreated, this can lead to permanent damage to the kidney. According to the The National Resource Center on Lupus, an estimated 60% of all Lupus patients will develop kidney complications, eventually requiring medical evaluation and treatment. Due to this prevalency, it is highly important to consult your doctor and have your urine tested regularly in order to determine kidney health.