Systemic Lupus

Board-Certified Rheumatologist located in Heart of Hendersonville Indian Lake Blvd, Hendersonville, TN

Systemic Lupus services offered in Heart of Hendersonville Indian Lake Blvd, Hendersonville, TN

About 200,000 American adults have systemic lupus erythematosus today. At Comprehensive Arthritis Care, the team of immune disease experts helps patients manage and prevent systemic lupus flare-ups effectively. Early treatment gives you the best chance of long-lasting systemic lupus remission. To learn more about the modern treatments for lupus, call the Hendersonville, Tennessee, office or book your appointment online today.

Systemic Lupus Q&A

What is systemic lupus?

Systemic lupus is a disease that causes systemic (bodywide) inflammation in the body. It occurs when the immune system creates antibodies that attack your skin, joints, organs, and other parts of your body.

Systemic lupus can range from mild to severe and could even threaten your life if untreated. Fortunately, most cases are mild-to-moderate and easily managed if you seek help early in the course of the disease.

About 200,000 Americans have systemic lupus today. It affects about 10 times as many women as men. Children account for about 20% of all people with lupus. 

What symptoms does systemic lupus cause?

Lupus causes a range of symptoms that might seem unrelated at first. You could experience:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Rash (usually a butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose)
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth sores 
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Pale or white fingertips that then turn blue 

Additionally, up to 70% of people with systemic lupus experience gastrointestinal issues.  

Lupus tends to cause flare-ups and periods of remission (being free or mostly free from symptoms). Some patients may reach long-term remission, but the disease is still in the body.  

How is systemic lupus diagnosed?

Lupus diagnosis can be challenging due to its many varied symptoms. Also, some lupus symptoms occur in other rheumatic and even non-rheumatic diseases. Generally, preliminary diagnosis includes a medical history and full symptom review.

If the team suspects you have lupus, they’ll likely perform a series of lab tests. The first test is the ANA screening. If it’s negative, you don’t have lupus, but if it’s positive, you need additional tests (anti-dsDNA and anti-Sm) to confirm a diagnosis.

The team may also perform other specific tests to monitor your disease over time.

How is systemic lupus treated?

Treatment of systemic lupus centers around helping you reach remission and managing your symptoms during flare-ups.

The American College of Rheumatology recommends hydroxychloroquine for all patients with lupus. It’s an antimalarial drug that can lessen lupus symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, and rashes. It may also prevent flare-ups.

You could need other oral medications and might need intravenous (IV) infusion therapy in the comfortable infusion suite at Comprehensive Arthritis Care. The team customizes a treatment plan for your specific symptoms so you can live a quality life.