One of the more serious complications of Lupus is kidney problems. Around one in every three people with Lupus will develop a potentially serious kidney disease called lupus nephritis, which is caused by prolonged inflammation of the kidneys. Lupus nephritis tends to develop relatively early in the course of Lupus, usually within five years of diagnosis.
Symptoms can include swelling of your feet, headaches, dizziness, blood in your urine and a frequent need to go for a wee. It can also cause high blood pressure which increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes, if left untreated. Regular blood tests are needed to monitor your kidneys.
Another cause for concern is cardiovascular disease (CVD), including coronary heart disease, angina, heart attacks and strokes. Having Lupus puts you at a higher risk because your heart and arteries are already more likely to become inflamed and damaged.
Reducing the risks is all the common sense sort of stuff: quit smoking, drink less, eat healthy and exercise more. All good fun, especially when you’re already exhausted from the fatigue and totally depressed from feeling like shit.
Lupus does not usually affect fertility, but it can increase the risk of pregnancy complications, such as pre–eclampsia, premature delivery, miscarriage and stillbirth. If you’re thinking of getting pregnant you need to plan this carefully with your doctor and ensure you are monitored closely throughout.
As Lupus can cause damage to internal organs and tissues, certain people are at higher risk of life-threatening complications, such as heart attack or stroke. And lets not forget certain medications; they can treat the symptoms and increase your risk of developing potentially serious infections at the same type. This one is definitely a ‘swings and roundabout’ situation that can be hard to deal with.