Lupus & Henoch-Schönlein Purpura

New Jersey Kidney Services

Lupus and Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP), are two conditions related to the immune system that can interfere with kidney function. Thankfully, both of these conditions can be treated and managed with diligent medical care.

Lupus—Symptoms & Treatment

Lupus is a disease that involves the immune system and affects about 1.5 million Americans. There is no cure for lupus, but there are numerous treatments available that can keep the symptoms in check.

When lupus occurs, the body’s immune system goes into overdrive and has a difficult time distinguishing between health cells and bacterial invaders. This causes our natural antibodies to attack healthy parts of the body, which can result in several health complications.

There are three types of lupus:

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – The most common and serious form of lupus. SLE typically causes pain and discomfort in the joints and skin. It can also damage the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Severity of these symptoms vary, and only about half of patients with SLE suffer permanent kidney damage.
  • Cutaneous (skin) Lupus – This lupus manifests as a rash on the face, neck, scalp, and ears. This is a rarer form of lupus and does not affect internal organs the same way SLE can.
  • Drug-Induced Lupus – Lupus can occasionally develop in reaction to certain medications, most commonly in anti-seizure and acne medications. The symptoms can be similar to SLE, but it will usually disappear when the patient stops taking the medication.

Treating lupus comes down to managing symptoms. Lupus is primarily managed through medications such as antimalarial and anti-inflammatory drugs. Lifestyle changes can also be beneficial.

What is HSP?

HSP is a condition that causes blood vessels to become swollen and irritated. This inflammation typically occurs in the skin, intestines and kidneys. There is no known cause of HSP, but we do know that it is a response to a malfunctioning immune system. It often occurs after a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract. You or your child may have HSP if you notice reddish-purple spots under the skin or trace amounts of blood in urine.

HSP is not serious and usually clears up on its own in a month or so. Your doctor can help you treat the symptoms with medication.

Treatment for lupus and HSP is available. Contact us today!