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What Is Lupus Nephritis?

Lupus Nephritis refers to kidney problem resulted from years of or uncontrolled SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). It is a major complication of SLE and also the leading cause of SLE patients. According to clinical date, Lupus Nephritis can affect up to 60% of people with lupus, so effective preventive measures for Lupus Nephritis are necessary to help SLE patients prolong life span and improve life expectancy. Besides, according to kidney biopsy, Lupus Nephritis is divided into 5 stages:

Stage I; Minimal Mesangial Glomerulonephritis

Stage II: Mesangial Proliferative Lupus Nephritis

Stage III: Focal Proliferative Nephritis

Stage IV: Diffuse Proliferative Nephritis

Stage V: Membranous Nephritis

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How Is Lupus Nephritis Diagnosed?

To diagnose Lupus Nephritis, several medical tests will be involved and they are:

Routine Blood Test: This test helps to measure serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen level which increases when kidney function is affected. Through this test, we can generally understand if patients’ kidney function has been impaired.

Routine Urine Test: When kidney tissues are injured, excess red blood cells and protein leak into urine, forming hematuria and proteinuria. Routine Urine Test is the most commonly used test to measure kidney condition.

X-rays of the kidney

Ultrasound Scan of the kidney

Kidney Biopsy: Kidney Biopsy involves taking a sample of kidney tissue to examine under a microscope. It can help to find out how widespread and severe the kidney disease is.

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How Is Lupus Nephritis Caused?

Lupus Nephritis results from years of or uncontrolled SLE. For people living with SLE, due to abnormality of their immune system, various autoantibodies like antinuclear antibodies, anti-single-stranded DNA antibody and anti-RNP antibody will be produced in the body. These antibodies combine with antigen, forming immune complexes which may deposit in any part of patients’ body while circulating with blood. When they deposit in glomerulus, which is a part of kidney, inflammation occurs and this can cause damages on surrounding kidney tissues. Lupus Nephritis is caused when kidneys are injured due to SLE.

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lupus Nephritis?

Lupus Nephritis is secondary to SLE which also damage the skin, joints, nervous system and virtually any organ or system in the body apart from the kidneys, for this reason, Lupus Nephritis run high risk for many discomforts regarding different organs.

For Lupus Nephritis patients, the most common symptoms regarding kidney include proteinuria (protein urine), hematuria (blood urine), swelling (edema), tiredness (fatigue), high blood pressure, frequent urination at night, decreased urine output and so on.

Aside from these symptoms, they also suffer from some other symptoms which appear even there are no kidney damages and they are fever, arthritis, skin problem, live problem, heart problem and pneumorrhagia and so on.

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Treatment Options for Lupus Nephritis

For Lupus Nephritis patients, a tight control of SLE is very essential. After that, medical measures that can help to repair kidney damages and improve kidney function will be needed. To achieve this purpose, the following medicines or treatments are available:

Medicines for Lupus Nephritis:

Glucocorticoid: Glucocorticoid plays an important role in the treatment of Lupus Nephritis. It helps patients relieve clinical manifestations and improve prognosis effectively, but the usage of it should base on the activity of SLE and the stages of Lupus Nephritis.

Cytotoxic Drugs: In medicine, the most commonly used cytotoxic drugs for Lupus Nephritis include cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, Mycophenolate Mofetil, CyclosporinA, and tacrolimus and so on. Cytotoxic drugs are commonly used by SLE patients with Diffuse Proliferative Nephritis.

Alternative Treatments for Lupus Nephritis

Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy: Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy has function of expanding blood vessels, anti-inflammation, anti-coagulation and degradation. Through function of anti-inflammation, further kidney damages can be prevented effectively by Lupus Nephritis patients. What is more, with micro-Chinese medicine, immune complexes in kidney can be cleared away little by little. (You can describe your illness condition here, our experts will help you fight out the treatment effects with Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy).

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is not a simple medicine or treatment, but an effective combination of Chinese medicine and western medicine. While treating Lupus Nephritis, the whole process is divided into six steps which focus on different medical purpose. In Immunotherapy, western medicines are firstly and temporarily used to block inflammation and relieve symptoms, which are essential for controlling illness condition. Different medicines are chosen in this step and this is based on patients’ specific illness condition. After that, when patients’ illness condition get stable, Chinese medicines are used to adjust immune system and increase immunity. With the help of Chinese medicine, production of new antibodies and immune complexes can be avoided. When there is no deposition in kidney, no inflammation and kidney damages are caused. In this way, Lupus Nephritis is stopped effectively.

Polluted Blood Therapy: Polluted blood therapy is a treatment that treats Lupus Nephritis by treating blood with various blood purification methods like plasma exchange and immunoadsorption and so on. (Learn more about polluted blood therapy by clicking the link)

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Diet Plan for Lupus Nephritis

Suggested diet for Lupus Nephritis patients include:

Low protein diet: Limiting protein intake is necessary when one is affected by Lupus Nephritis, as high protein intake will increase the burden of kidney. Also, he needs to ingest some high quality protein which can be found in lean meat, fish, beef, milk and egg white.

Low salt intake: high salt foods not only elevates blood pressure, but also triggers swelling, so staying far away from pickles, processed foods, spicy foods and so on.

Low fat diet: Avoid greasy foods and try to have a light food.

High calcium diet: High calcium diet is very necessary and this needs patients to eat some high calcium foods like milk, bean product and kelp and so on.

Adjust potassium intake and phosphorus intake according to potassium level and phosphorus level in blood.

Adjust fluid intake: when fluid retention occurs, limiting fluid intake becomes necessary. How much fluid a Lupus Nephritis patient can drink depends on the specific illness condition.

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