NKF Observes World Lupus Day

Focuses on Impact of Lupus Nephritis in the Kidney Community

May 10, 2021, New York, NY — In honor of World Lupus Day on Monday, May 10, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is highlighting patients living with a condition called lupus nephritis (LN), which is a kidney disorder. LN causes inflammation (swelling or scarring) of the small blood vessels that filter waste in the kidneys and is one of the most common yet dangerous complications of lupus. Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that turns the immune system against the body causing inflammation that can harm multiple organs such as the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints. Due to the many challenges in diagnosing lupus, it’s estimated that this disease impacts 161,000 to 1.5 million people.[1] Half of all Americans living with lupus will at some point develop lupus nephritis and up to 3 out of 10 people with lupus nephritis will develop kidney failure within 15 years of their diagnosis. 

“I had been dealing with constant earaches, weight gain, and extreme fatigue for quite some time,” said Curtisha Anderson, a kidney transplant recipient diagnosed with lupus nephritis at 14-years-old. “My parents took me to the hospital emergency room for many tests; I had to be given a sedative to calm down once told I needed an emergency dialysis treatment as well as surgery to insert a catheter. It was all just so shocking.”

There are very few symptoms in the early stages of lupus nephritis. Both lupus and kidney issues might start at the same time and could include: foamy, bubbly or frothy urine; fatigue; inflammation or scarring of the kidneys; blood in the urine (hematuria); weight gain due to fluid buildup in your body; swelling in the legs, feet and ankles; and uncontrolled high blood pressure. 

“Today we observe World Lupus Day to shine a bright light on lupus nephritis, how autoimmune diseases impact the body, and the importance of understanding your kidney health,” said Kevin Longino, Chief Executive Officer of NKF and a kidney transplant patient. “Early diagnosis and treatment to prevent long-term kidney damage is critical.” 

Although both men and women of all ages and races get lupus, more than 90% of people with lupus are women in their childbearing years (15-45) and about half (50%) of people who are diagnosed with lupus nephritis did not know they had lupus. The most recent study on Lupus nephritis revealed significant gaps in education and communication among patients and physicians that could pose barriers to optimal care. Lupus nephritis is diagnosed with urine and blood tests as well as a kidney biopsy, if appropriate. 

Learn more about lupus nephritis, NKF, and kidney disease at www.kidneys.org and join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #WorldLupusDay.  

About Kidney Disease

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian, or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure.  Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

About National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org