Lupus nephritis


Lupus nephritis is kidney inflammation and damage caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), also known as lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body. Lupus triggers your immune system to generate autoantibodies, which target and harm your body’s own tissues and organs. Aside from affecting your kidneys, lupus can also inflict damage on your brain, heart, joints, skin, and various other body parts.

Lupus nephritis prevents the kidneys from keeping blood pressure and volume under control, filter wastes from the body, regulate hormone levels, and maintain proper amounts of bodily fluids, such as salts, acids, and minerals.

Kidney inflammation can lead to blood in the urine, protein in the urine, high blood pressure, and reduced kidney function. In severe cases of lupus nephritis, kidney failure and end-stage renal disease, among other major health issues may arise. Treatment options usually include medication, dialysis or a kidney transplant.


Lupus nephritis symptoms usually begin about five years after lupus symptoms initially appear. It can be the primary, and sometimes the sole symptom of lupus.

Lupus nephritis signs and symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the lower body or around the eyes, due to fluid retention
  • Hematuria, or the presence of blood in the urine
  • Proteinuria or foamy urine, which indicates too much protein in the urine
  • Urination has increased, particularly at night
  • High blood pressure
  • High levels of creatinine, a waste product, in the blood
  • Fever with unknown cause
  • Swelling or pain in the joints
  • Muscle pain
  • Face rash with red skin


Lupus nephritis is a condition in which the body assaults the kidneys, causing inflammation and impaired kidney function. Immune system proteins in systemic lupus damage the kidneys, impairing their ability to filter waste. This chronic inflammation causes scarring and irreversible kidney damage. Lupus nephritis affects up to 50% of persons with systemic lupus.

Risk factors

Lupus nephritis affects only adults and children with lupus disease. Certain risk factors may contribute to the chance of developing lupus, such as:

  • Sex: Men are more likely to develop lupus nephritis than women.
  • Race or ethnicity: African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, or Asian ancestry have higher susceptibility to this disease.
  • Environment: People who come into touch with specific illnesses, viruses, hazardous chemicals, or pollutants have a higher risk for lupus nephritis.
  • Family history: If a family member has lupus nephritis, the risk of getting it also increases.
  • Having another autoimmune disease