What could it be?
What Is Lupus?
• Lupus occurs when your immune system attacks healthy tissue by mistake.
• It can cause inflammation and pain anywhere in your body but usually affects the skin, joints and organs, such as kidneys or lungs.
• When Lupus is active, symptoms include joint stiffness, fatigue, confusion and even depression.
Who Gets Lupus?
• Lupus can affect anyone, but you’re at greater risk if you:
– Have a family history
– Are a woman between the ages of 15 and 44
– Are African American, Asian American, Hispanic, Native American or Pacific Islander
When to See Your Doctor or Rheumatologist
• Lupus causes painful joints, fatigue, headaches, low-grade fevers and a rash on the cheeks and nose.
• No one test can diagnose Lupus. Your doctor may order blood tests, urine tests and even a biopsy to check for signs of inflammation.
• A rheumatologist may refer you to a dermatologist, a nephrologist (for kidney problems) or a gastroenterologist (for digestive tract issues).
• Your treatment plan may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, biologics and immunosuppressives to:
– Manage symptoms
– Reduce inflammation
– Suppress the immune system
– Minimize flares and organ damage
• Follow your plan carefully, go to all doctor visits and get needed tests.
• Identify and avoid triggers to prevent flares. Common triggers are exhaustion, physical and mental stress and sunlight exposure.
Top Lifestyle Tips
• Exercise to improve overall health, weight control and mental well-being.
• Try relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and tai chi to ease stress.
• Get help from loved ones and coworkers for emotional support and everyday tasks.
• Schedule rest and get restorative sleep – don’t let yourself become worn out or overtired.
• Don’t smoke – it can worsen many aspects of lupus and trigger flares.