Lupus is a complex illness that can impact many aspects of your life, but with effective treatment, it’s possible to cope and keep your symptoms under control. At her office in Katy, Texas, board-certified rheumatologist Kiran Farheen, MD, is experienced in diagnosing and treating lupus. To get the support you need to live with lupus, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation throughout your body, potentially affecting your joints, skin, blood, heart, lungs, and brain. An autoimmune disease is where your immune system mistakenly attacks your own healthy tissues.
No two cases of lupus are exactly alike, in part because the disease can affect different bodily systems. Many people with lupus, but not all, have a butterfly-shaped facial rash across their nose and cheeks. Other common signs and symptoms of lupus include:
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because it shares symptoms with other conditions, and the symptoms often develop slowly. Dr. Farheen confirms a diagnosis of lupus through a series of lab tests, including blood work.
Lupus can affect anyone, but about 90% of people with lupus are women, and the disease is most commonly diagnosed in women between the ages of 15-45. The exact cause of lupus is unknown, but scientific research suggests the following factors may play a role:
Abnormal hormone levels, including excess estrogen, may contribute to lupus.
A family history of lupus can make you at a higher risk of the disease.
If you’re prone to lupus, exposure to triggers like smoking, stress, and ultraviolet (UV) light may set it off.
Not everyone with these risk factors develops lupus, and not everyone with lupus has these risk factors.
There’s no cure for lupus, but the condition is manageable with treatment and early diagnosis. For most people, lupus symptoms come and go. Dr. Farheen, therefore, focuses treatment on minimizing how often your symptoms flare-up to provide you with the best possible quality of life and minimize damage to your body.
Dr. Farheen works closely with you to identify your symptoms and determine what triggers them. Your treatment may include:
Medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids to control inflammation
Medications that directly target the immune response underlying lupus, such as antimalarial drugs and immunosuppressants
Lifestyle changes, including protecting yourself from exposure to the sun and eating a healthy diet
Developing coping strategies, including lupus support groups, communicating effectively with your family and friends about your illness, and taking time for yourself
Lupus doesn’t have to stop you from leading a full life. To get help, call Dr. Farheen or schedule an appointment online today.