Dr. Chris Phillips
10 Must-Know Facts About Lupus
Updated: Nov 30, 2022
What do you know about lupus? Have you been diagnosed with lupus? Perhaps you are not officially diagnosed, but suspect you could have lupus?
Lupus is a disease with far-reaching effects. The more you understand it, the more you can know how to navigate living with lupus.
Here are 4 must-know facts about lupus from our healthcare team:
#1 Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Lupus is a chronic condition - a lifelong diagnosis. It is not like a bacterial infection that can be resolved with a course of antibiotics, which means a person cannot “catch” lupus.
#2 Lupus is treatable, not curable. As with any autoimmune disease, there is not a “cure” that can make lupus go away for good. This does not mean an individual diagnosed with lupus should not seek medical care, though.
#3 Lupus falls under the care of a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is a type of doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating autoimmune diseases, rheumatic diseases, and inflammatory diseases.
#4 Lupus has different forms. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common type of lupus. Other types of lupus include cutaneous lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus, and neonatal lupus erythematosus.
#5 Lupus symptoms vary from person to person. Autoimmune diseases don’t follow a playbook. No two patients will experience the exact same symptoms, and even if they share similar symptoms, the overall impact of an autoimmune disease will look different from one patient to the next.
#6 Lupus is difficult to diagnose. There is no single diagnostic test to confirm a patient has lupus. People may be told that a blood test confirmed lupus, or that a positive blood ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) diagnosed lupus, but nothing could be further from the truth, it is much more complex than this to diagnose as these labs can mean many things other than lupus! Plus, symptoms of lupus often mimic symptoms of other types of autoimmune diseases. Add all this to the fact that autoimmune diseases tend to have a mind of their own, lupus is notoriously known as a challenge to identify.
#7 Lupus can damage organs and tissues. Many people associate autoimmune diseases with joint or skin problems, when in fact the inflammatory process can lead to significant organ issues such as heart disease or kidney disease.
#8 Lupus affects men and women of all ethnicities. Yes, statistics show that
lupus is most common in women 15 - 44 years of age, but it can hit anyone regardless of gender or race.
#9 Lupus could be called an invisible disease. It is not uncommon for a person to live with lupus for years before being officially diagnosed. Furthermore, a person living with lupus may not have any outward, visible signs of the disease until it has progressed enough to cause serious physical impairment.
#10 Lupus requires a treatment plan. Some people might try to manage their lupus alone, but that is definitely not the recommended route. Lupus needs monitoring, and seeking the guidance of a rheumatologist can help a person avoid permanent health consequences as a result of lupus complications.
What To Do If You Have Lupus
Here at Paducah Rheumatology, we care for patients with lupus.
Whether this is the beginning of your autoimmune disease journey or you were diagnosed with lupus years ago, we are ready to help you improve your quality of life. We create personalized treatment plans for each one of our patients, and every plan is designed to decrease symptoms, minimize flare-ups, and reduce disease progression.
Give us a call at (270) 408-6100 today to schedule an appointment. We are accepting new patients with a physician’s referral.