by Danielle Bradshaw from In The Cloud Copy
Research that has recently been made available reveals that lupus nephritis – a kind of kidney disease that’s related to lupus – isn’t directly connected to a greater chance of infection. Lupus nephritis’s presence within a person’s body had no connection to the higher rate of generalized hospital visits, longer hospital stays, or mortality rates.
What Is Lupus Nephritis?
Lupus nephritis is what occurs when systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) affects the kidneys. SLE is an autoimmune disease which means that it attacks the bodily tissues. When SLE attacks the kidneys, it results in inflammation or lupus nephritis.
This inflammation hampers the functionality of the kidneys and results in the organ leaking protein. LN can be controlled, however. It’s when the illness goes unchecked that problems arise – more specifically, kidney failure can occur.
Symptoms associated with LN are dark urine, urine that is foamy or frothy, high blood pressure, weight gain, and needing to urinate at night. Approximately 60% of people with lupus will end up developing LN (but this doesn’t mean that every issue with the kidneys or urine is the result of LN).
It could be that the person has a urinary tract infection as patients with lupus can end up with UTIs quite frequently.
Summary of the Study
The study was a retrospective cohort study that took place across multiple health establishments. What this means is that staff from different health centers gathered people with similar issues and their risk factors are compared to those that don’t over some period of time (typically, 6 months).
The research group conducting the study gathered and analyzed two healthcare centers’ worth of patient data and correlated the rate of infection between two groups; 87 patients that had LN and 86 patients that had lupus but no type of kidney disease.
Lupus was much more present in the group that had LN, but there wasn’t a great difference between the groups as far as severe infection rates go. Around 9% of the patients that had LN were found to have, at the very least, one severe infection over the duration of the study while only about 6% of people in the “lupus without LN” group contracted serious infections.
The conclusion of the study was that lupus nephritis alone doesn’t increase a person’s chances of developing any serious infections as compared to people that have SLE with no presence of LN. This is, of course, if the LN is properly managed. This research proves that keeping healthy goes a long way towards managing LN and limiting how much influence it has on a person’s chances of infection and overall kidney function.
Read more about this study here.