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How to Treat Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is an inflammation that occurs in the kidneys due to the influence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or better known as lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system, which is supposed to protect the body, turns against healthy kidney cells, resulting in impaired kidney function. Then how to treat lupus nephritis? See the explanation in this article.

How to Treat Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment from a kidney doctor. This is because lupus nephritis can cause inflammation of the kidneys which can lead to a number of symptoms, such as high blood pressure, the presence of protein and blood in the urine, and even kidney failure.

Causes of Lupus Nephritis

As explained above, lupus nephritis can occur when the body's immune system attacks healthy kidney cells, so that kidney function is impaired and cannot perform its function properly.

The immune system under normal conditions will only attack germs that enter the body. However, if a person suffers from lupus nephritis, the immune system will experience abnormalities that cause immune system to attack the body's own cells, including kidney cells.

Until now, the cause of immune system disorders (autoimmune) in a person is not known with certainty. However, there are several factors that can cause a person to be more at risk of developing autoimmune disease, namely being female and aged between 15 to 45 years.

A person who has had lupus nephritis may experience a recurrence of lupus nephritis symptoms due to exposure to things that trigger lupus. There are several causes that can trigger the recurrence of lupus nephritis symptoms, including:

  • Too long exposure to the sun
  • Infection, whether due to bacteria or viruses
  • Hormonal changes that occur during menstruation or pregnancy
  • Medications, such as antibiotics and anticonvulsants

Symptoms of Lupus Nephritis

The symptoms felt by people with lupus nephritis are not much different from other kidney disorders. The symptoms of lupus nephritis are as follows:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Foamy urine
  • The appearance of blood in the urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling occurs in the soles of the feet, ankles, and calves
  • Weight gain

How to Treat Lupus Nephritis

If you experience the symptoms of lupus nephritis, as mentioned above, then immediately check with your doctor to get the right treatment. The doctor will examine the symptoms and determine whether you have lupus nephritis or not. To make sure the doctor will perform several examinations.

1. Blood test

Blood tests are done to see the content of residual substances in the blood such as creatinine and urea so that it can assess kidney function. Under normal conditions, these substances should not appear because it has been filtered by the kidneys.

2. Urine test

Urine tests to measure the levels of protein, red blood cells, and white blood cells in the urine so that it can assess kidney function.

3. Urine test for 24 hours

This examination will show how much protein content appears in the urine for 24 hours. This method is used to measure the ability of the kidneys to filter waste from the body.

4. Abdominal ultrasound

Abdominal ultrasound examination is done by using sound waves to display the condition of the kidneys in detail. Through this examination, the doctor can see any abnormalities in the size and shape of the kidneys.

5. Kidney biopsy

Kidney biopsy aims to examine the presence of kidney tissue damage and determine the cause. The doctor will take a sample of kidney tissue and then examine it using a microscope.

The goals of treatment for lupus nephritis are to relieve symptoms, prevent recurrence of lupus, and prevent damage to the kidneys. The type of lupus nephritis treatment depends on the severity of the lupus nephritis suffered.

Treatment of lupus nephritis is carried out through 2 phases, namely the initial phase and the advanced phase. Treatment of early-phase lupus nephritis aims to prevent kidney damage as quickly as possible and suppress the immune system that damages kidney tissue.

Meanwhile, for the treatment of lupus nephritis in the advanced phase, the aim is to prevent the recurrence of lupus nephritis. Lupus nephritis will generally be treated with the following methods:

1. Corticosteroid medicines

Corticosteroid medicines are medicines used to reduce inflammation, especially in the kidneys. An example of a corticosteroid type medicine used to treat lupus nephritis is methylprednisone.

2. Immunosuppressive medicines

Immunosuppressive medicines are medicines that can be used to suppress the work of the immune system, so that kidney tissue damage due to immune system attacks can be relieved. Examples of types of immunosuppressive medicines are cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, and hydroxychloroquinone.

3. Antihypertensive medicines

Damage to kidney tissue from lupus nephritis can cause blood pressure to rise. Some examples of antihypertensive medicinesthat can be used for patients with lupus nephritis are ARB, ACE inhibitors, diuretics and beta blockers.

To maintain blood pressure, patients with lupus nephritis are required to reduce foods that are high in protein and contain salt. In addition, to prevent the recurrence of lupus nephritis, lupus nephritis patients must be able to stay away from exposure to triggers for lupus nephritis recurrence, such as prolonged exposure to sunlight and antibiotic medicines. However, lupus nephritis is basically incurable.

How to Prevent Lupus Nephritis

Implementing a healthy lifestyle can protect us from various kidney disorders, including lupus nephritis. There are several ways that can be done to prevent lupus nephritis are:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce foods that contain a lot of salt
  • Reduce foods high in cholesterol
  • Maintain blood pressure to remain normal
  • Do not smoke and consume alcohol
  • Avoid using medicines that can affect kidney health, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

That's the explanation that I can share about how to treat lupus nephritis, hopefully it can be useful.

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