It’s National Kidney Month, and for those living with scleroderma, approximately 15% are affected by kidney problems. As one of those affected, Falguni (dx 2020) shares how her experience with scleroderma renal crisis motivated her to proactively learn about scleroderma and its complications.
After a few years of medical issues, things came to a head for Falguni in December of 2019. “Over the course of a week, I began experiencing what I thought was UTI, losing my appetite, major fatigue, and dehydration,” she says. “One evening, I started vomiting, and my family called 911. When the paramedics came, my blood pressure was over 200.” That’s a key symptom of renal crisis—sudden onset of high blood pressure (hypertension) of more than 150/85 mmHG.
“When I was admitted to the hospital, I ended up admitted for about a month with scleroderma renal crisis and kidney damage that left me on dialysis for 5 months,” Falguni shares. During that time, she worked with her nephrologist to restore kidney function and she was able to stop dialysis. Falguni looks to research as the source for effective treatments, or how “you can get your kidneys back on track.”
Falguni advises those with scleroderma to familiarize themselves with common disease complications, like renal crisis. “It truly appears out of left field,” she says. “I wasn’t aware of the symptoms or what to look out for, so it’s good to get educated on all aspects of scleroderma.”