Icon: Kidney Issues

Kidney Issues

Your kidneys are the primary organs in the renal system, which eliminates waste and controls fluids. These are major functions in your body, so it’s important to understand what to look for when they aren’t working properly.

When my doctor told me lupus was affecting my kidneys, I was scared. But I worked with my doctor to make a few changes that have helped.

Kidney issues, such as lupus nephritis, can be experienced when the kidneys are inflamed, making them unable to properly remove waste from your blood or control the amount of fluids in your body. The result? Swelling, especially in the feet, ankles, legs, fingers, arms, or eyes. Symptoms can also include blood in your urine, elevated blood pressure, foamy urine, or an increased need to urinate, especially at night.


If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. These could be signs that your lupus is active and attacking your kidneys. And if untreated, this can lead to permanent, irreversible kidney damage, including internal scarring of your kidneys.


Over time, as many as 40% of adults with
systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) will develop lupus nephritis.

Get your doctor’s help
with kidney problems.

Lupus nephritis most often develops within five years after a lupus diagnosis. In the early stages of lupus nephritis, symptoms may not be apparent. The first signs of lupus nephritis often appear on urine lab tests.


The earlier effective treatments are used, the better the symptom control can be. And that can mean slowing down or even stopping the damage to your kidneys. 

Icon: Blood Pressure

High blood pressure may make it harder for your kidneys to function properly. And improper kidney function may make hypertension worse. To avoid this vicious cycle, talk to your doctor, who may prescribe medicine for high blood pressure.


They may also suggest some simple dietary changes. Try eating less protein, taking in less salt, and drinking water only until you’re no longer thirsty.

Image: Lupus Symptom Tracker

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Learn more about these symptoms.

Icon: Lupus Fatigue


Icon: Lupus Joint Pain

Joint Pain

Icon: Lupus Skin Rashes

Skin Rashes

Icon: Lupus Hair Loss

Hair Loss

Icon: Lupus Mouth Sores

Mouth Sores

Icon: Lupus Brain Fog

Brain Fog

Icon: Kidney Issues

Kidney Issues

Icon: Lupus Depression and Anxiety

& Anxiety

Icon: Lupus Muscle Pain and Weakness

Muscle Pain
& Weakness

Icon: Lupus Heart Issues

Heart Issues

Icon: Lupus Weight Changes