Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists
Rheumatologists located in Plantation, FL
Lupus causes systemic inflammation that can affect many organs. It also occurs 10 times more frequently in women than men. Dr. Guillermo Valenzuela and Dr. Marilu Colon at Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists are experts in helping patients affected by the complex symptoms of lupus. To learn whether your symptoms may be due to lupus, call the office in Plantation, Florida, or book an appointment online.
Lupus Q & A
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect your joints and any organ system in your body, causing a wide range of symptoms. When you have an autoimmune disease, immune system antibodies can’t tell the difference between harmful substances and your own body. As a result, they attack cells and tissues, resulting in inflammation that causes damage and leads to symptoms.
There are several types of lupus:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): When most people mention lupus, they’re talking about SLE, because it’s the most common form of lupus.
- Cutaneous lupus: SLE can cause skin rashes as one of its symptoms, but cutaneous lupus only affects your skin, causing a round, raised, scaly rash. Some patients with cutaneous lupus go on to develop SLE.
- Drug-induced lupus: Some medications cause lupus-like symptoms, but the symptoms usually go away after the medication is stopped.
- Childhood lupus: Children can develop SLE, and it tends to affect certain organs such as their kidneys.
What are the Symptoms of Lupus?
Fatigue, fever, and joint pain are usually the earliest symptoms of SLE. Many patients also develop a characteristic butterfly-shaped rash on their face -- covering the cheeks and bridge of the nose.
Other common symptoms include headaches and skin lesions due to photosensitivity. No matter what symptoms you experience, they usually follow a course where they appear, go away, and then you relapse and have symptoms again
Over time SLE may cause any of the following, depending on which body system is affected:
- Musculoskeletal: joint pain, arthritis, muscle pain
- Dermatologic: rash, photosensitivity
- Renal: kidney failure or acute kidney disease
- Cardiac: inflamed heart muscle and tissues
- Hematologic: anemia, low blood count
- Gastrointestinal: nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion
- Pulmonary: lung disease, inflamed tissues
How is Lupus Treated?
SLE is a chronic disease, so the goal of treatment is to keep it in remission. Flare-ups often occur in response to environmental triggers such as sunlight, so your doctor works with you to identify your personal triggers.
Your treatment depends on the organs affected and the severity of your symptoms, but examples of SLE treatment options include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to diminish pain, fever, inflammation, and joint swelling
- Antimalarial drugs to decrease flare-ups and treat fatigue, rashes, and lupus-related arthritis
- Corticosteroids to fight inflammation
- Biologics to suppress the immune system and reduce lupus symptoms
If you have any questions or concerns about your symptoms, or you have lupus and need expert medical management, call Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists or use online booking to schedule an appointment.