Kidney disease is related to a great many other diseases and conditions, the most common being high blood pressure and heart and stroke problems. But another condition it’s often linked with is lupus. And for those who have both lupus and kidney disease, the prognosis is unfortunately not good.
Systemic lupus erathymatosus, usually just called lupus, causes damage to the skin, joints, brain, and also to the kidneys. In fact, according to an article on the HealthDay website (Kidney Disease Could Be More Deadly for Kids With Lupus, Friday December 17, 2010), about eighty percent of children with lupus also suffer kidney damage. But whether it’s adults or children who have end-stage kidney disease caused by lupus, all have a higher likelihood of death from any cause than those who have the same kidney problems stemming from a different source.
Researchers from both Johns Hopkins University and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia studied the cases of 98,000 children, and this conclusion is what the evidence suggested. Children were 2.4 times more likely to die, when suffering from kidney disease caused by lupus, than children whose disease was caused by something else. Adults had a slightly better record, yet they were still almost twice as many times more likely to die.
While many causes seemed to lead to death for people with kidney disease caused by lupus, the most common cause, according to the study, seemed to be cardiovascular disease and cardiac arrest. For this reason, the researchers suggest that patients with the lupus-kidney combination probably need extra monitoring for atherosclerosis, or the thickening of the walls of the arteries. And when kidney patients are also diagnosed with lupus, that should send up a red flag of warning, so doctors can be more alert to the increased risks of death.
The study, entitled Increased risk of death in pediatric and adult patients with ESRD secondary to lupus, is published in the January 2011 issue of the journal, Pediatric Nephrology.