Since lupus may have an effect on kidney function, it's best to test your urine occasionally for unwanted protein. The inconvenience, however, is when you have to do a 24-hour urine analysis in a big orange jug. To add insult to injury, you have to store this jug in the fridge. So what do you do when you have a household of orange juice drinkers? If you're like me, I constantly have to remind my son not to drink all of it. Now I have to tell him not to mistake my jug for the orange juice carton. Yes, men for the most part drink orange juice and other refrigerated beverages straight from the container. You can remind them not to until you're blue in the face so in my case, I have to either tape a sign in bold letters DO NOT DRINK, find a separate compartment, or both.
People with an abnormal amount of protein in their urine (proteinuria) are at risk for kidney disease. The majority of lupus patients will develop lupus nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) at some point in their journey. When lupus attacks the kidneys, they can't function normally and leak protein. Symptoms vary but if not controlled, it can lead to kidney failure.
This is my third or fourth time doing a urine analysis and while it's an inconvenience, it's necessary. It's necessary because your primary care doctor or specialist will know how to proceed with a treatment plan. Besides the urine test, other tests such as blood, ultrasound, and kidney biopsy completes the diagnostics.
In 2010, I was admitted to the hospital for a 3-day stay for Cytoxan treatments. Cytoxan is a form of chemotherapy to fight cancer or prevent the rejection of transplanted organs (WebMD, 2013). For the record, I don't have cancer or a rejected organ but this treatment works by suppressing the immune system activity that damages the kidneys.
Tomorrow morning, I have to turn in my jug to the lab. Hopefully the results will render a verdict of my needing to make small lifestyle changes such as drinking more water, eating a low-sodium diet, exercise, and for heaven's sake lay off the NSAIDs for pain relief. God knows I've been popping Advil like crazy. Maybe now my primary care doctor will take my pain complaints seriously.
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Filed under: Lupus