Friday, April 12, 2013

Lupus, Kidney Function and Potassium

Living with lupus is like living with a time bomb that you never know when it will explode. Regular doc follow up, blood and urine tests are essential routines that I adhere to so that I will have some early warning signs to prevent the time bomb from going off.  For people with SLE like me, it is always a worry that lupus flares might cause organs damage to kidney, liver, heart, etc, no matter how responsible I am towards health.   

Recent blood test shows that my potassium level is high - a sign that my kidney function may not be functioning properly (since it cannot eliminate excess potassium effectively), although most other indications like ds-DNA are stable. Doc has asked that I stopped my high blood pressure medicine (Micardis) temporary and also avoid food with high potassium like bananas. I will repeat the test in a week time. I read up information on the Internet and realize that high blood pressure medicines might cause high potassium level (apparently potassium helps to lower blood pressure).  Found that some food/drinks like potatoes and orange juices have high potassium level.  High potassium level can be dangerous as it might affect the heart condition and stop heart beating. Since I stopped Micardis, I also have been diligently measuring my blood pressure.  It has been at the healthy range so far.  Some time I also wonder that my high blood pressure is caused by lupus and now that I have my lupus under control, I also have blood pressure under control, then I should not need to take medicine for high blood pressure.  But medicine reference always says once you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is something that cannot be cured.... but what happened if the diagnosis is wrong in the first place? Anyone can shed light on this area? 

Though I remain quietly confident that my potassium level will go down during my repeated test next week, I wonder how to achieve the dedicate balance in controlling the different medical conditions and the side effects of medications.  Micardis helps to control high blood pressure but yet it can be harmful to the kidney.  Plaquenil controls lupus but yet it can be harmful to the eyes.  Doc will say it depends on whether the beneficial effects of the medicine exceed the cons at the time of treatment.

Anyway, no point worrying too much and I will just take one thing at a time.  I strive to live each day fully since I do not know what will happen next. Good luck to the my next test results.  


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