Laboratory Tests for Lupus Nephritis
As the majority of lupus patients do not show direct symptoms of kidney damage until most of the kidney cells have been damaged, thus regular lab tests are essential.
Usually, doctors would measure the amount of protein and blood in patient’s urine. The Higher amount of proteins or blood in urine would indicate more damage. Thought lab tests would give the accurate amount of proteins or blood in urine, the content of proteins and blood in urine can also be estimated at home by using commercially available paper strips that change color depending on the quantity of proteins or blood in the urine (these paper strips are called dipsticks).
Most commonly used blood test is for creatinine. Creatinine is a waste product of break-down of muscles. Kidneys remove the excess of creatinine from the blood. When kidneys are not working properly they fail to remove the creatinine from blood, resulting in elevated levels of creatinine. By knowing the amount of creatinine in blood, doctors can estimate the filtration rate of kidneys.