LIVE EXPERT Q&A: Lupus Nephritis

August 12, 2020

Watch “Lupus and the Kidneys” with Dr. Bevra Hahn below!

Listen as Lupus LA’s Medical Advisory Board member and expert rheumatologist, Dr. Bevra Hahn, answers patients’ top questions about how your lupus diagnosis can affect your kidneys.

About The Expert: Dr. Bevra Hahn is Professor of Medicine (emeritus) at UCLA. She chaired the Rheumatology Group at UCLA for 30 years. She has devoted her career to developing and using better treatments, and understanding the immune pathology underlying SLE. She now works in her office at UCLA approximately half-time, lectures, writes about SLE, consults for groups developing new treatments or tests, and serves on several committees for national organizations dedicated to improving life for people with SLE and other rheumatological conditions.

Top Questions: LIVE Q&A with Dr. Bevra Hahn

What is lupus nephritis? 

Dr. Hahn: Lupus nephritis is inflammation in the kidneys caused by lupus. There are several sub-types to determine the severity of the nephritis, ranging from type 0, which shows the kidneys to be completely normal under biopsy, to type 6, which shows the kidneys to be completely scarred with no tissue to save with prednisone and immunosuppressants (type 6 is not common).  Type 2 shows a small amount of inflammation in the glomeruli (the filters which remove toxins from the blood), Types 3, 4, and 5 show an increased amount of inflammation over the previous type.

What are the symptoms of lupus nephritis? 

Dr. Hahn: Signs and symptoms of lupus nephritis include:​

  • Blood in the urine
  • Foamy urine (due to excess protein in urine)​
  • High levels of a waste product called creatinine in your blood
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles or feet
  • ​High blood pressure

​How do you diagnose lupus nephritis?

Dr. Hahn: ​Diagnosis is achieved through blood and urine analysis. If diagnosis is inconclusive, a kidney biopsy may be performed to better diagnose lupus nephritis and the severity of the disease.

​C​an lupus nephritis be cured? 

Dr. Hahn: There is no cure for lupus nephritis, but treatment options with steroids such as prednisone, or other drugs such as Mycophenolate (CellCept), Rituximab (Rituxan), or Belinumab (Benlysta) are available to manage lupus nephritis. Please consult your physician for specific treatment options for your diagnosis.

Is lupus nephritis fatal? 

Dr. Hahn: ​Without proper treatment, lupus nephritis can lead to kidney failure. If kidney failure occurs, the only option for survival is a kidney transplant.

To hear all of Dr. Hahn’s responses, click the video above to view the full talk!

Lupus Nephritis Awareness Resource Kit: To help raise awareness of lupus nephritis and to empower those living with the condition, ALL IN has created the Lupus Nephritis Awareness Resource Kit with insights from members of the lupus nephritis community.

Inside the kit, ALL IN community members will find resources to help increase their understanding of lupus nephritis along with tips to help manage their condition, as well as two #ALLINforLN disease awareness bracelets. Kit resources include:

  • Lupus Nephritis Informational Brochure
  • Glossary of Lupus Nephritis Terms
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Lupus Nephritis
  • Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Lupus Nephritis
  • How to Talk with Family and Friends About Lupus Nephritis
  • Caring for Someone with Lupus Nephritis: A Guide for Care Partners
  • Sample Employer or School Letter

To learn more, or to sign up to receive a kit, click here.

Learn More about the ALL IN Campaign:

To engage with Aurinia’s ALL IN community and to spread awareness of lupus nephritis, you can visit their Facebook page here: ALL IN Facebook page.

To learn more about the ALL IN program, visit www.allinforln.com.