Healthy immune system produces antibodies to fight against foreign matters such as virus, bacteria or other infections so as to keep people healthy. However, people with lupus often have an abnormal immune system, meaning the antibodies can’t tell foreign substances from one’s own healthy cells, tissues and organs. Consequently, those antibodies attack its own body parts resulting in the occurrence of SLE.
About 1 in 3 people with lupus will suffer from Kidney Disease called Lupus Nephritis. In cases of lupus, antibodies couldn’t fight against antigens forming immune complexes. Those immune complexes easily deposited in kidneys since kidneys have binding epitope which is the perfect place for immune complex. Once the foreign matters deposit in kidneys, inflammatory reaction develops spontaneously to clear them out. Those complexes are hardly to be removed because they not only travel through the blood stream, but also lodge in kidneys. The inflammatory response won’t stop as long as those complexes lingering here. Overactive reaction impairs healthy cells, tissues and organs and account for Lupus Nephritis.
The treatment of lupus nephritis
The goal of treatment is to improve kidney function and to delay kidney failure. Your doctor may prescribe medicines including corticosteroids, cellcept, or prednisone to suppress the immune system.
Dialysis or renal transplant may be needed to handle the symptoms of kidney failure when kidneys do not function at all.
Immunotherapy is a new therapy which has been the current treatment for lupus nephritis. (Learn more about Current Recommended Treatment for Lupus Nephritis).
Lifestyle and diet change is necessary for lupus nephritis in order to keep the lupus under control. For example, patients should avoid extreme of water restriction and water excess. Your physician will tell you if you are drinking too much or too little water.
Virtually, people can live a happy life as long as lupus is under control and kidney disease is treated with proper treatment.