Get Uncomfortable With Lupus Nephritis
When you have lupus nephritis

Peeing in a
cup sucks

but kidney failure
is way worse.
but kidney
failure is
way worse.

Choosing to prioritize your kidney health might be uncomfortable, but the reality is that up to 30% of people who live with lupus nephritis may experience kidney failure, which can lead to dialysis or even a kidney transplant. Luckily, there are steps you can take now that may help, such as scheduling routine tests and asking your doctor about treatment options. Talk to your doctor today to learn more about routine testing and treatment.

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Lupus is a serious and chronic disease in which the immune system (which fights off disease-causing germs such as bacteria and viruses) attacks healthy cells of the body.

Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys. When it affects the kidneys, it's called lupus nephritis. The symptoms of lupus nephritis aren't always noticeable, but they are serious.


Lupus nephritis is a common and serious complication of lupus.

About 1 in 2 people with lupus may go on to develop lupus nephritis.
Inflammation from lupus nephritis can cause permanent kidney damage and even kidney failure, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

When the kidneys can’t function properly, that can also lead to other serious health issues, including high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

That’s why it’s so important to catch lupus nephritis early. Early diagnosis and treatment may help prevent irreversible kidney damage and other serious complications.

some uncomfortable facts and figuressome uncomfortable facts and figures

living with lupus nephritis may
experience kidney failure
Guidelines recommend routine
if you have lupus nephritis to help your doctor closely monitor
your kidney health
The risk of death is THREE TIMES
GREATER for people living with lupus nephritis than people with lupus without kidney involvement
Image of Monique, who was diagnosed with lupus nephritis in 2010
When it comes to lupus nephritis, what you don’t know can hurt you. I’m hopeful that stepping into the uncomfortable spaces of lupus nephritis will be both empowering and life-changing. Your kidneys might even thank you later.
Monique, diagnosed with lupus nephritis in 2010


Lupus nephritis can be silent, but it is serious. Just because you don’t always notice the symptoms doesn’t mean they aren’t there. You can keep an eye out for things like:

(usually in the feet, ankles, or legs)
Increased blood pressure
Frothy/sudsy urine, and
frequent urination
You may not notice the signs of kidney
damage, but with routine urine or blood
tests, your doctor can. That's why staying
on top of regular doctor appointments
is so important.

Learn about a different
treatment option

Lupus nephritis treatment can help control inflammation and protect your kidneys.

Find out more


Because the physical signs of lupus nephritis can be subtle, it’s crucial to stay on top of routine testing. Guidelines recommend that people living with lupus get a urine test as often as once every 3 months, while those with active lupus nephritis are tested as often as monthly.

Here are the tests that your rheumatologist or nephrologist may rely on to monitor your kidney function, categorize the stage of lupus nephritis, and help determine treatment options:

URINE TESTS are the most common tests you’ll receive

  • They check for higher than normal levels of protein in the urine, known as proteinuria, which is a key sign of active lupus nephritis. They also check for hematuria—or the presence of blood in the urine
  • Your doctor will likely aim for protein levels to stay below 0.5 grams (or 500 milligrams) per day

BLOOD TESTS such as eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) check to see how well your kidneys are filtering blood

A KIDNEY BIOPSY confirms a lupus nephritis diagnosis, and can check the extent of kidney damage

Image of Gabrielle, who was diagnosed with lupus nephritis in 2010
It's time to get real. Lupus nephritis patients have many odds against them, but we do have the power of choice. We can do our part to show up and be momentarily uncomfortable in hopes of better health, or worse off because we put ourselves last.
Gabrielle, diagnosed with lupus nephritis in 2010

Hear from kidney health experts on how routine testing helps them monitor your kidney health.


are you ready for change?

Doctor appointments
can be a lot.
but they’re better
than dialysis.

Bringing the right information and being prepared for your appointments can make all the difference in your lupus nephritis management. It can also help you better advocate for yourself and your health at the doctor’s office. Try some of these tips to get ready for your next appointment.

Write down your symptoms over time, and any changes to your symptoms between appointments
Organize any recent results from urine tests, blood work, and/or lab tests. Keeping track of the levels of protein in your urine each visit is crucial to managing lupus nephritis. Your doctor will likely aim for protein levels to stay below 0.5 grams (or 500 milligrams) per day.
Keep track of your medical appointments and hospital visits
Take a friend or family member with you to your appointment
Bring a list of all your medications (including vitamins and supplements)
Be your own health advocate and ask any questions you have