National Kidney Month

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1 in 3 Americans is at risk for kidney disease. The National Kidney Foundation urges everyone to give their kidneys a second thought by getting a checkup and considering becoming a donor. There are more than 26 million Americans who have kidney disease, and most don’t know it because there are often no symptoms until the disease has progressed. Nineteen people die every day in the United States waiting for a kidney transplant.

Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney that is caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). Also called lupus, SLE is an autoimmune disease. With lupus, the body’s immune system targets its own body tissues. Lupus nephritis happens when lupus involves the kidneys.

Up to 60% of lupus patients will develop lupus nephritis. When the kidneys are inflamed, they can’t function normally and can leak protein. If not controlled, lupus nephritis can lead to kidney failure.

Medications used in treatment can include:

Corticosteroids. These strong anti-inflammatory drugs can decrease inflammation. Doctors may prescribe these until the lupus nephritis improves. Because these drugs can cause a variety of potentially serious side effects, they must be monitored carefully. Doctors generally taper down the dosage once the symptoms start to improve.

Immunosuppressive drugs. These drugs, which are related to the ones used to treat cancer or prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, work by suppressing immune system activity that damages the kidneys. They include cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), azathioprine (Imuran) and mycophenolate (Cellcept).

Medications to prevent blood clots or lower blood pressure if needed

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Lifestyle Changes for Lupus Nephritis
Certain lifestyle habits can help protect the kidneys. People with lupus nephritis should do the following:

Drink enough fluids to stay well hydrated.
Eat a low-sodium diet, especially if hypertension is an issue.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Exercise regularly.
Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Limit cholesterol.
Avoid medications that can affect the kidneys, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Your doctor may also recommend that you eat a diet low in potassium, phosphorus, and protein if there is already loss of kidney function.

Although lupus nephritis is a serious problem, most people who receive treatment do not go on to have kidney failure.

Information Partially Provided from:

March is National Kidney Month And Donors Are Needed

http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/lupus-nephritis

#LupusInColor

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