Lupus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks a person’s organs and tissues. Some people are born with a genetic tendency toward developing lupus, and certain triggers such as infections, sunlight, and certain medications can trigger lupus outbreaks. While there is no cure for lupus, there are different lupus treatments that can help control symptoms.
On of the most distinctive symptom of lupus is known as the “lupus facial rash.” This facial rash resembles the wings of a butterfly and appears across both cheeks. For people that do not develop this tell-tale rash, lupus is often difficult to diagnose because its symptoms often mimic those of other diseases and disorders. Lupus symptoms typically occur in episodes where symptoms will worsen and then lessen, and will sometimes disappear completely for a time. The most common signs and symptoms of lupus include, fatigue and fever; joint pain, stiffness, and swelling; butterfly shaped facial rash; skin outbreaks that are affected by sun exposure; discoloration of the fingers and toes; dry eyes; chest pain; shortness of breath; headaches. If any of these symptoms occur it is time to see a doctor.
Aside from prescription medications, there are lifestyle changes and home remedies that can help people with lupus prevent flares and cope with the symptoms of lupus when flares do occur. Being sun wise is a huge factor in lupus symptoms. Ultraviolet light can trigger flares, therefore sunscreen with and SPF of 55 or higher should be combined with protective clothing. Exercise, a healthy diet, and not smoking are all good choices for everyone, but especially those with lupus. By treating your body in a healthy manner and by protecting it from further damage, you can alleviate some of the most debilitating symptoms of lupus.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jodi E. Ganz, Olansky Dermatology Associates