The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have a form of lupus. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, most lupus sufferers are misdiagnosed or can go undiagnosed for years. May is Lupus Awareness Month and the goal is to inform practitioners, patients, caregivers, and the public about how best to diagnose, care for, and live with lupus.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. Lupus is a type of autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune attacks healthy tissue instead.
Lupus most commonly affects the following body parts:
- Joints; and
- Internal organs (e.g. kidneys and heart).
Because lupus affects many parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms.
What Are The Types of Lupus?
When people talk about lupus, they are usually talking about systemic lupus. But there are four kinds of lupus:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is the most common form of lupus.
- Cutaneous lupus, is a form of lupus that is limited to the skin.
- Drug-induced lupus, is a lupus-like disease caused by certain prescription drugs.
- Neonatal lupus, is a rare condition that affects infants of women who have lupus.
Who Is At Risk For Developing Lupus?
Anyone can develop lupus. But certain people are at higher risk for lupus, including:
- Women ages 15 to 44;
- 9 out of 10 adults with lupus are women;
- Certain racial or ethnic groups — including people who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander; and
- People who have a family member with lupus or another autoimmune disease.
What Doctors Treat Lupus?
Most people who have lupus will see a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists are specialists who diagnose and treat diseases in the joints or muscles.
But because lupus can cause problems anywhere in the body, you may need to consult with other types of doctors regarding your treatment, for example:
- Dermatologist (for your skin)
- Nephrologist (for your kidneys)
- Cardiologist (for your heart)
What Treatment Is Available For People With Lupus?
Although there is no cure for lupus, having the right treatment plan can help:
- Control your symptoms — like joint pain, swelling, and feeling tired;
- Keep your immune system (the part of the body that fights off bacteria and viruses) from attacking your body; and
- Protect your organs from damage.
The medications most commonly used to control lupus include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Antimalarial drugs
- Rituximab (Rituxan)
Treating lupus can be difficult.
It can take months, or even years, to find the right treatment plan for you.
If you or someone you know is suffering from lupus or any other illness, and you are being denied benefits by your insurer, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation or use our online contact form. We understand, and we can help.