Searching for Balance in Your Life With Kidney Disease?
Disclaimer: This story is sponsored by the RestoreD Study in an effort to raise awareness of kidney disease and the importance of early testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
If you are living with, or suspect you may have, kidney disease, it may feel difficult (and even impossible at times) to find balance between managing your symptoms and your daily life. Kidney disease can cause serious and debilitating symptoms that may lead to permanent kidney damage or kidney failure, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk for kidney failure and better manage your symptoms.
Our tips include learning more about kidney disease and its complications, getting tested yearly, and partnering with your health care team to determine the best treatment plan for you. Keep reading if you are searching for balance along your kidney disease journey.
What is kidney disease?
The main function of your kidneys is to filter out excess waste and water from the blood through the urine. When your kidneys are damaged or fail, they can’t do their job — often causing you to feel sick. If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, it means your kidneys do not filter waste and water from your blood as well as they should, causing waste and fluid buildup in your body.
Lupus nephritis (LN) and immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) are two chronic medical conditions that can cause serious kidney damage. These conditions may be defined by unpredictable and oftentimes debilitating flare-ups, leading to recurrent kidney injury. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when your kidney damage gets worse over time, causing your kidney function to decrease and potentially stop working completely. When your kidneys stop working, this is called kidney failure or end-stage renal disease.
What is lupus nephritis (LN)?
Lupus, also known as systemic lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that can impact many parts of the body — including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, and heart. Lupus occurs when the body’s immune system, which usually fights infections, attacks its own cells. This can cause inflammation and permanent tissue damage. The most common type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which affects approximately 70% of those diagnosed with lupus.
When SLE affects the kidneys, this is called LN. LN is most likely to develop within five years from when your lupus symptoms first appear, and it’s estimated that up to 60% of those living with SLE will develop LN. The most common LN symptoms include blood in your urine, foamy urine (also known as proteinuria), and swelling in your legs, ankles, and hands. However, in the early stages of LN, its symptoms can often go unnoticed, so it’s important for patients with SLE to undergo regular urine and blood tests, as well as kidney biopsies, to ensure an early diagnosis.
What is immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN)?
Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN), formerly known as Berger’s disease, is a disease caused by abnormal immune system activity that damages the glomeruli inside your kidneys. Glomeruli are small units that help filter the waste and water from your blood. When glomeruli are damaged, kidney disease can occur.
The most common symptoms of IgAN are high blood pressure, flank pain, blood in your urine, and foamy urine (also known as proteinuria). Like LN, early symptoms of IgAN can be difficult to recognize — leading to some people living with the condition not knowing they have it.
How are LN and IgAN diagnosed and treated?
In instances of both LN and IgAN, early diagnosis and treatment can help in managing your symptoms, and ultimately lessen the chance of permanent damage to your kidneys. Your doctor can determine whether you have kidney disease, LN, or IgAN through a urine test, blood test, or kidney biopsy.
Once you have received a diagnosis from a health care provider, they should discuss your treatment options and help you determine the best treatment plan for you.
Currently, there are several types of medications available to help control kidney inflammation and reduce kidney damage:
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids (steroids) are frequently prescribed to calm your immune system and treat symptom flare-ups.
- Immunosuppressives: Immunosuppressive drugs may be used to suppress your immune system to reduce inflammation in your kidneys.
- Biologics: Several biologics have also been approved specifically to treat LN symptoms.
- ACE inhibitors and ARBs: Blood pressure medications, called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), are often prescribed to reduce high blood pressure and proteinuria, which can lead to further kidney damage.
Other potential treatments are currently being studied in clinical research studies. It’s important to note that all treatments available to those living with kidney disease today started out in clinical research studies. Taking part in a clinical research study may be the right choice for some people diagnosed with kidney disease — including those living with LN or IgAN.
One clinical trial recruiting adults who have been diagnosed with either LN or IgAN is the RestoreD Study.
What is the RestoreD Study?
The RestoreD Study is a clinical research study, also known as a clinical trial, that is currently recruiting adults aged 18 to 75 years of age who have been diagnosed with LN or IgAN.
The purpose of the RestoreD Study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of an oral investigational medication, called ALXN2050, given in addition to standard of care and compared with placebo in reducing symptoms in adults with LN and IgAN.
Those who are eligible to participate and decide to enroll in the study will be randomly assigned to receive one of two dose levels of the investigational medication or placebo while continuing to receive standard of care.
Standard of care means participants in the clinical research study will receive treatment that is considered by medical experts as the proper treatment regimen for a specific health condition — in this case, LN and IgAN. Participants diagnosed with LN will receive Mycophenolate (a high-dose corticosteroid) and steroids, and participants diagnosed with IgAN will receive renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors.
The placebo looks the same as the investigational medication but does not contain any active ingredients. The investigational medication and the placebo will both be taken twice daily as oral tablets.
Neither the participants nor the study doctor will know who has been assigned to receive the investigational medication or placebo. All participants enrolled in the RestoreD Study will later have the opportunity to receive the investigational medication during the open-label extension period.
If you live with either LN or IgAN and are interested in learning more about participating in this clinical research study, visit RestoreDStudy.com.