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Houston Kidney Specialists Center -  - Nephrology

Houston Kidney Specialists Center

Nephrology & Internal Medicine located in Cypress and North Houston Area, TX

Approximately 1.5 million Americans have lupus, an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack healthy tissue throughout your body, including your kidneys. If you have lupus and need expert kidney care, the skilled team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center can help. Call any of their four locations throughout Houston and Cypress, Texas, or request an appointment online today.

Lupus Q & A

What is lupus?

Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue throughout your body. 

Lupus ranges in severity, causing cycles of inflammation and remission, and symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Swollen joints, muscles, and eyes
  • A rash
  • Ulcers
  • Hair loss
  • Fever,
  • Headaches 

There are several types of lupus that attack different parts of your body. Your symptoms depend on your variant of the disease.

How does lupus affect the kidneys?

When lupus attacks your kidneys, it sends antibodies to fight off the perceived threat. This leads to inflammation and scarring in the blood vessels that filter waste out of your blood, interfering with your kidney function. Reduced kidney function leads to uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms. 

What are the signs of lupus-related kidney dysfunction?

Some of the signs of lupus-related kidney problems include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Elevated protein levels in the urine
  • Edema
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical assessment. Many health problems can cause similar symptoms, and it’s critical to get an accurate diagnosis for appropriate treatment.

How is lupus diagnosed?

The team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center review your medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle before completing a physical exam. 

Your doctor orders urine tests to check for blood or elevated protein levels. They also request bloodwork to check your:

  • Protein
  • Cholesterol
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Antiphospholipid antibodies
  • Anti-nuclear antibodies

In addition to screening for lupus, your doctor also orders tests to evaluate your kidney health. For example, your doctor might order a kidney biopsy to check for signs of scarring or other damage. 

How do you treat lupus?

If your kidney dysfunction is due to lupus, your doctor provides treatments to control lupus and promote healthy kidney function. Everyone has unique needs, but most treatment programs include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors 
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Diuretics

These medications calm your immune system, reduce inflammation, regulate your blood pressure, and fluid retention. Your doctor might also recommend dietary changes, reducing sodium and protein. Cutting these products from your diet lessens the stress on your kidneys. 

If you have lupus and are looking for expert nephrologists to monitor your kidney health, call Houston Kidney Specialists Center, or book an appointment online today.