Lupus Q & A

What is lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack your soft tissues and organs. Lupus can affect almost any part of your body, including your joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, brain, blood cells, and heart.

Lupus occurs for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s a result of a genetic predisposition; other times, it’s due to infections, prescription medications, or exposure to sunlight. Although there’s no cure for lupus, it is possible to ease its uncomfortable symptoms. 

What are the symptoms of lupus?

The symptoms of lupus affect everyone differently. In many cases, they also mimic other health problems. Telltale signs of lupus include:

  • A butterfly-shaped facial rash
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss

Many people with lupus also experience skin lesions after direct exposure to sunlight. 

Who is at risk of lupus?

Lupus affects people of all ages, but certain factors may increase your risk. These include being a woman between the ages of 15-45. You’re also more likely to experience lupus if you’re African-American, Hispanic, or Asian-American.

How is lupus diagnosed?

To diagnose lupus, your We Care Clinic provider conducts a physical exam, asks you about your symptoms, and reviews your medical history. Next, they order a series of laboratory tests, including a complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, and a kidney and liver assessment.

If your We Care Clinic provider suspects that lupus is affecting your heart or lungs, they might also order diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray or echocardiogram, to pinpoint fluid or inflammation. 

How is lupus treated?

At We Care Clinic, the team treats lupus using a holistic approach. Each provider views patients as a whole individual, rather than a single symptom that requires treatment. 

There are several prescription medications you might benefit from. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your We Care Clinic provider might recommend corticosteroids, antimalarial drugs, immunosuppressants, or biologics.

Healthy lifestyle changes are also important. If you have lupus, the team at We Care Clinic recommends visiting the doctor regularly, protecting your skin from the sun’s harsh UV-rays, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

To explore your treatment options for lupus, schedule an appointment at We Care Clinic. Call the office or book online today.