Sjogren's Syndrome and Kidney Problems
A link between Sjogren's syndrome and kidney problems can occur even before the more common symptoms, which are dry eyes and dry mouth. Possible complications include inflammation of the tissue around the kidney's filters and inflammation of the filters themselves. Treatment for people with Sjogren's syndrome and kidney problems is often withheld unless kidney function is affected.
The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and remove them from the body through urine. The most common kidney problem in people with Sjogren's syndrome is interstitial nephritis, or inflammation of the tissue around the kidney's filters, which can occur even before dry eyes and dry mouth.
Inflammation of the filters themselves, called glomerulonephritis, is less common. Some people develop renal tubular acidosis, which means that they can't get rid of certain acids through urine. The amount of potassium in their blood drops, causing an imbalance in blood chemicals that can affect the heart, muscles, and nerves.
Often, doctors do not treat these kidney problems unless they start to affect kidney function or cause other health problems; however, they do keep a close eye on the problem, through regular exams, and will prescribe medicines called alkaline agents to balance blood chemicals when necessary. Corticosteroids or immunosuppressants are often used to treat more severe cases.