What is the Connection Between Lupus and Kidney Disease?
Lupus is difficult to treat because it belongs to the class of ailments called autoimmune diseases and very little is known about the causes of lupus. But what researchers know is that it is a multi-organ disease, a condition in which our own immune system starts failing to recognize some of our body tissues. Due to the failure of recognition, the immune system starts attacking our body tissues, leading to various manifestations of thedisease.
This condition has lots to do with familial history and gender. 90% of the people diagnosed with lupus are females, with the vast majority of them of childbearing age. But in some cases, it may start even in teenage.
Most people imagine lupus to be a disease of joints, muscles, and skin. But not many people know that kidney disease is quite common in lupus. In fact, 90% of cases of lupus have kidney disease to some extent. Though clinically relevant kidney disease is present only in half of the cases(2). Kidney disease is also more common if lupus is diagnosed at anearly age(3). If lupus starts at ayoung age, it is not uncommon to have kidney symptoms as theprimary presentation of the disease.
Kidneys may be small organs, but they are very important in maintaining fluid balance and excreting metabolic waste products. If they fail to function properly, it results in accumulation of fluids and toxic waste materials.
Diabetes and hypertension are two most common and well-known causes of kidney failure. Glomerulonephritis is the third most common reason for end-stage kidney disease, and lupus is slowly emerging as one of the most common causes of glomerulonephritis(4).