Overview

Lupus nephritis is a type of kidney inflammation. It's a common complication in people who have systemic lupus erythematosus — more commonly known as lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system produces proteins called autoantibodies that attack your own tissues and organs.

Lupus nephritis occurs when lupus autoantibodies affect structures in your kidneys that filter out waste. This causes kidney inflammation and may lead to blood in the urine (hematuria), protein in the urine (proteinuria), high blood pressure, impaired kidney function or even kidney failure.

Symptoms

Symptoms of lupus nephritis might include protein in your urine and foamy looking urine. You might have high blood pressure and a higher than normal level of a waste product created by your body called creatinine. You also might have swelling in your hands, ankles, and feet.

Causes

Lupus nephritis is often caused by lupus. In lupus, your immune system makes proteins that attack your tissues and organs. Lupus nephritis is caused when the proteins harm the kidneys' ability to filter out waste. This results in kidney inflammation and might lead to blood in the urine, protein in the urine, high blood pressure, poor kidney function, or kidney failure.

Lupus nephritis care at Mayo Clinic

Nov. 14, 2018
References
  1. Lupus nephritis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/kidney-disease/lupus-nephritis/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  2. Longo DL, et al., eds. Glomular diseases. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  3. Bomback AS, et al. Diagnosis and classification of renal disease in systemic lupus erythematosus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  4. Dialysis. National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/dialysisinfo. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  5. Fervenza FC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 7, 2016.