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According to the Lupus Foundation of America's research, approximately 1.5 million Americans have lupus. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that occurs when the immune system tries to ward off a virus, bacterium or germ and cannot differentiate between the foreign body and healthy tissue. Instead of only attacking the foreign body, the immune system also attacks the healthy tissue.

Symptoms

Lupus causes inflammation of the joints, skin, internal organs and blood cells. Other symptoms may include fatigue, painful, swollen joints, anemia, sensitivity to light and mouth ulcers. It is known as "the imitator" disease because many of lupus' symptoms are also symptoms of other rheumatic diseases.

Treatments

Each patient's symptoms of lupus are different. Therefore, each patient's treatment plan will vary. Rheumatologists also aim to treat the symptoms by stifling the overactive immune system, reducing joint and muscle inflammation and preventing inflammation flare-ups. Medications that are sometimes prescribed include:

  • Anti-inflammatories are used to reduce joint and muscle inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids for overactive immune system problems.
  • Antimalarials are prescribed to treat inflammation.
  • Immunosuppressives are used to control the overactive immune system in more serious cases.
  • Anticoagulants are prescribed to thin the blood in patients predisposed to this problem.

If lupus has affected the patient's skin, internal organs or blood cells, other specialists are commonly asked to treat these symptoms. Since lupus has a wide variety of symptoms, a team effort is needed to treat the disease.

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