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Understanding Lupus

What is Lupus

Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body.

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What is lupus?

Lupus is a chronic (long-term) disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system the body system that usually fights infections attacks healthy tissue instead.

Lupus is a cruel mystery we must all solve together

Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it’s hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, and strikes without warning, and has no known cause. Right now, there’s no cure for lupus. The good news is that with the support of your doctors and loved ones, you can learn to manage it. Start by learning as much as you can about lupus.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation usually happens when your immune system is fighting an infection or an injury. When lupus makes your immune system attack healthy tissue, it can cause inflammation in lots of different body parts. Symptoms can include swelling and pain.

How do doctors diagnose lupus?

Diagnosing lupus can be challenging. There’s no single test that can give doctors a “yes” or “no” answer. Sometimes it can take months or even years to gather all the right information. Making a lupus diagnosis is kind of like putting together a puzzle. Your doctor will look at several different puzzle pieces: your symptoms, medical history, family history, and lab tests. If enough of the pieces fit together, you may be diagnosed with lupus.

What questions will my doctor ask?

If your doctor thinks you might have lupus, they’ll ask you questions about your symptoms, like:

  • What symptoms are you having?
  • How often do you have these symptoms?
  • When did your symptoms start?
  • Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
  • Do your symptoms get in the way of your daily routine?

Your doctor may also ask if anyone in your family has had lupus or another autoimmune disease (a disease where the immune system attacks healthy tissue). That’s because people who have a family member with an autoimmune disease may be more likely to develop lupus.

What are the treatments for lupus?

Treating lupus is a lifelong process. It requires ongoing planning and communication. Right now, there’s no cure for lupus, but there’s a lot you can do to manage the disease and improve your quality of life. Learning as much as you can about lupus treatments and approaches will help you work with your care team to find a treatment plan that’s right for you.

 

Anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter pain relievers

Anti-inflammatory medications help to relieve many of the symptoms of lupus by reducing inflammation and pain. Anti-inflammatories are the most common drugs used to treat lupus symptoms like fever, arthritis or pleurisy. These symptoms often improve within several days of beginning treatment. For many people with lupus, an anti-inflammatory drug may be the only medication they need to control lupus.

 

- Aspirin

- Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)

Lupus symptoms

Because lupus can affect so many different parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms. And many people with lupus don’t have all the symptoms. If you have these common lupus symptoms listed below, it’s important to talk to your doctor and find out whether you have lupus or a different health problem. That way, you can get the treatment you need.

 

Common signs and symptoms of lupus

  • Extreme fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • Pain or swelling in the joints
  • Swelling in the hands, feet, or around the eyes
  • Headaches
  • Low fevers
  • Sensitivity to sunlight or fluorescent light
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose
  • Hair loss

How can I manage daily life with lupus?

How can I help find a cure?

At the Mnena Lupus Foundation (MLF), we support researchers who are working to cure lupus and find better treatments for lupus symptoms.  
If you have Lupus or are experiencing any of the signs of lupus and would like some help and advice please contact us by email or call

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