Lupus and Kidney Disease (Lupus Nephritis)

What is lupus nephritis?

Lupus nephritis is a type of kidney disease caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus). Lupus is an autoimmune disease —a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own cells and organs. Kidney disease caused by lupus may get worse over time and lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health.

Illustration of the location of the kidneys in the body.

Who gets lupus?

Lupus is much more common in women than in men and most often strikes during the child-bearing years. Nine out of 10 people who have lupus are women. Lupus is also more common in people of African or Asian background. African Americans and Asian Americans are about 2 to 3 times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians.1 In the United States, 1 out of every 250 African American women will develop lupus.

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