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Lupus Awareness Month

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Lupus Awareness Month

Source: Lupus Awareness | CDC

What Is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects many different parts of the body. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks itself because it cannot tell the difference between healthy tissue and foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.

Lupus symptoms can show up in many different ways and are often mistaken for symptoms of other diseases. This is why it can be hard to diagnose and is often called “the great imitator.” Lupus symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening, so early diagnosis and treatment by a rheumatologist are important. A rheumatologist is a doctor who has additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis, lupus, and other diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones.

Signs and Symptoms of Lupus

  • Fatigue or extreme exhaustion no matter how much you sleep

  • Muscle and joint pain or swelling

  • Skin rashes (in particular a butterfly-shaped face rash across the cheeks and nose)

  • Fever

  • Hair loss

  • Recurring mouth sores

Additional symptoms or conditions can include:

  • Sensitivity to the sun

  • Lung problems

  • Chest pain when deep breathing

  • Fingers or toes turning blue or white or feeling numb

  • Heart problems

  • Kidney problems

  • Psychosis (disruptive thoughts and perceptions about what is or is not real)

  • Blood cell and immunological abnormalities (anemia or clotting problems)

  • Eye diseases

  • Memory problems

How Is Lupus Treated?

Although there is no cure for lupus, it can be managed with proper treatment, and people with lupus can go on to live long, happy lives. The goals of treatment are to manage current symptoms, prevent future flares, and prevent damage to joints and organs by calming the immune system. Because the symptoms of lupus vary widely, management depends on a person’s individual symptoms and needs. Seeing a doctor regularly and following the prescribed course of treatments is important. Beyond that, adopting healthy behaviors and learning skills to manage the disease can also be beneficial.

To improve overall health and quality of life, people with lupus should:

  • Be physically active

  • Eat healthy meals

  • Get plenty of rest

  • Avoid smoking

  • Wear sunscreen and avoid excessive sun exposure

If you or someone you love is living with symptoms of Lupus, reach out to Complex and Internal Medicine for disease treatment and management by calling 307.688.3535.


Want to get involved with Lupus research and learn more? Visit the Home Page - The Lupus Initiative.

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