Healthy Living

Why Some Lupus Patients Need Kidney Transplants

How Does Lupus Affect the Kidney

Lupus is one of the most common autoimmune diseases that many people suffer from. Autoimmune diseases are certain types of disease in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and sees them as invaders in the body. The body naturally has antibodies that recognize foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses. In autoimmune disorders, these antibodies for some reason view healthy tissues as invaders and attempt to eliminate them. Lupus, an autoimmune disease, is especially common in women, and can often have a more profound effect on them. It is a tough disease and can affect the kidney, liver, brain, and pancreas.

Around 60-90% of lupus patients with lupus have suffered from some sort of kidney involvement. Whether the kidney is completely damaged or isn’t functioning properly, the kidney is the most commonly affected area. The kidney is the body’s filter for any “junk” that may be present in the bloodstream. Over 100 drops of blood are processed  through the kidney everyday, which is why it is such an affected organ in relation to lupus. With patients like Selena Gomez where a kidney transplant is necessary, clumps of the body’s antibodies get stuck inside the kidney. These clumps accumulate over time and cause the patient's kidney to be progressively damaged. It is not usual for patients with lupus to need a kidney transplant, but with people who suffer from lupus nephritis, it is a life saving procedure. Recently, medication has been developed that has helped slow the decay of the kidney as well as halted kidney failure, which has been the leading cause of death for many lupus patients. The medication has a lot of side effects that patients must be able to tolerate; otherwise, a transplant may be the only solution.