Lupus occurs when your immune system mistakenly creates antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue.

Lupus is a long-term disease that causes pain and inflammation in the body. It can be difficult to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms it triggers.

It affects skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, heart, and brain. Most patients feel fatigue and have rashes, arthritis, and fever. Lupus flares vary from mild to serious. Most patients have times when the disease is active, followed by times when the disease is mostly in recession.

Most often, lupus begins when people are in their 20s and 30s. The disease is more common and occurs more strongly in some ethnic groups, including blacks and Hispanics. People with lupus often have symptoms that are not specific to this disease. These include fever, fatigue, weight loss, blood clots and hair loss. People can also experience heartburn, stomach pain, and poor circulation to the fingers and toes. Pregnant women can have miscarriages.

When your immune system is healthy, it protects your body by attacking foreign germs. With lupus, the immune system goes awry and attacks the person’s own tissues. Over time, this leads to inflammation and abnormal blood vessels. Antibodies end up in cells in organs, where they cause damage. Why this begins is not clear, but scientists think is is a mix of heredity and environmental causes. Viruses, sunlight and drug allergies may all play a part in triggering this disease. People with lupus may also have an impaired ability to clean out old and damaged cells from the body, which causes an abnormal immune response.

Lupus can be hard to detect because it is a complex disease that has many symptoms that can come on slowly or happen sporadically. Our rheumatologists are experts in diagnosing and treating autoimmune diseases, and can best diagnose lupus. If our doctors suspects you have lupus based on your symptoms, you’ll need blood tests to confirm it. Once a diagnosis is reached, we can then advise you about treatment options to reduce symptoms and support your long-term health.

Treatment depends on the type of symptoms you have and how serious they are. There is no cure for lupus, and treating lupus can be a challenge. However, treatments have improved a great deal. There is much reason for hope. Our goal is to help you be as strong as possible and to have the best possible quality of life. When you are ready to meet with the physician, please give us a call. Make an appointment to learn how we can help with diagnosis, treatment, and management.

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Other Conditions Treated

• Sjogren syndrome
• Raynaud's phenomenon
• Mixed connective tissue disease

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