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What is lupus?

Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s organs and tissues. The attack by your immune system causes inflammation that may affect the structure or function of the tissues or organs.

Though the exact cause is still being researched, doctors theorize that the autoimmune disorder may develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, along with organ-specific characteristics. 

Lupus is more common in women than men, and no single case of lupus is like another.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

The symptoms of lupus vary from person-to-person, which can make it hard to get an accurate diagnosis. Additionally, in some people, symptoms are mild and come on slowly, while they are severe and develop rapidly in others.

Typical symptoms you may experience with lupus include:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Butterfly-shaped rash along the nose and cheeks
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry eyes
  • Skin lesions that get worse after sun exposure
  • Headaches
  • Confusion or memory loss

Lupus may also affect organ function, including the kidneys, lungs, heart, or brain.

How is lupus diagnosed?

Lupus is a complex disease that is diagnosed by corroborating symptoms with a physical exam and blood tests.  At Bay Area Rheumatology, the expert team is well versed at diagnosing autoimmune conditions like lupus. When you come in with concerns about an autoimmune disorder like lupus, they conduct thorough evaluations to get an accurate diagnosis. 

During your assessment, the team reviews your symptoms, medical history, and family history. Then, they conduct a physical exam, looking for common signs and symptoms of lupus.  If the treating provider suspects lupus, they run a series of blood tests to confirm a diagnosis.

How is lupus treated? and vasculitis.

There is no known cure for lupus. However, we develop personalized treatment plans that suppress your overactive immune system to reduce flare-ups and symptoms. Treatment depends on your indications and may include:

  • Antimalarial medication
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Biologics
  • Clinical trials