One Patient's Positive Perspectives

Lupus Basics

A collection of information is gathered here about lupus, including links and references from authoritative sources in the medical and lupus communities.  Every attempt has been made to provide accurate citations and credits to the authors and original sources.

  1. What is Lupus?
  2. Common Symptoms of Lupus
  3. Medications to Treat Lupus Symptoms
  4. Links to Other Lupus Information Sites

1. What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body).

Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu).  Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders.

Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues (“auto” means “self”) and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.

Follow the link to read more at the Lupus Foundation of America web site …

Follow the link to read more at John Hopkins Medical Center Lupus Primer web site …

2. Common Symptoms of Lupus.

To help the doctors diagnose lupus, a list of 11 common criteria, or measures, was developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). ACR is a professional association of rheumatologists.  These are the doctors who specialize in treating diseases of the joints and muscles, like lupus.

If you have at least four of the criteria on the list, either at the present time or at some time in the past, there is a strong chance that you have lupus.

  1. Malar rash – a rash over the cheeks and nose, often in the shape of a butterfly
  2. Discoid rash – a rash that appears as red, raised, disk-shaped patches
  3. Photosensitivity – a reaction to sun or light that causes a skin rash to appear or get worse
  4. Oral ulcers – sores appearing in the mouth
  5. Arthritis – joint pain and swelling of two or more joints in which the bones around the joints do not become destroyed
  6. Serositis – inflammation of the lining around the lungs (pleuritis) or inflammation of the lining around the heart that causes chest pain which is worse with deep breathing (pericarditis)
  7. Kidney disorder – persistent protein or cellular casts in the urine
  8. Neurological disorder – seizures or psychosis
  9. Blood disorder – anemia (low red blood cell count), leukopenia (low white blood cell count), lymphopenia (low level of specific white blood cells), or thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
  10. Immunologic disorder – abnormal anti-double-stranded DNA or anti-Sm, positive antiphospholipid antibodies
  11. Abnormal antinuclear antibody (ANA)

People with lupus also may experience symptoms that do not appear among the ACR criteria:

  • fever (over 100° F)
  • extreme fatigue
  • hair loss
  • fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)

Follow the link to read more at the Lupus Foundation of America web site …

3. Medications to Treat Lupus Symptoms

Medications are important for managing many systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. An array of drug therapies is now available, and this has increased the potential for effective treatment and excellent patient outcomes.

The link below will take you to a discussion of the use of Anti-Inflammatories, Corticosteroids, Antimalarials, Immunosuppressives medication and Anticoagulants used in the treatment of lupus symptoms.

Follow link to read more at the Lupus Foundation of America website …

4. Links to Other Lupus Information and Resources

Additional authoritative information about lupus is available at the Lupus Foundation of America website.

Read the “Lupus Now Magazine” published monthly by the Lupus Foundation of America.

The Arthritis Foundation information about Systemic Lupus

Arthritis Today – excellent online Arthritis publication by the Arthritis Foundation

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH) MedlinePlus entry about Lupus (aka Discoid lupus, SLE, Subacute cutaneous lupus, and Systemic lupus erythematosus.)  Also, see the excellent online interactive tutorial for Lupus patients published by the NIH Patient Education Institute.

The Lupus Family Registry and Repository (LFRR)

Check out the Lupus topic at the National Institute of Health: NIAMS – Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

The NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke discusses neurological sequelae in Lupus.

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) discussion of Lupus Nephritis, a leading cause of kidney failure affecting approximately 50% of lupus patients.

The Mayo Clinic provides excellent information about Lupus and related secondary medical conditions.

Check out the Center for Disease Control lupus awareness site “Could I Have Lupus?”

Information about Lupus from the American College of Rheumatology.

Arthritis Health – Leading Arizona Rheumatology Practice

Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Division of Immunotherapy and Autoimmune Diseases – research in disease-specific protocols for treatment using patient’s own adult stem cells

Deutsch, Antwort @ lupus-live – German language Lupus site

Espanol, Lupus Eritematoso Sistémico, Colegio Estadounidense de Reumatología – Spanish language lupus site



Comments on: "Lupus Basics" (3)

  1. […] Many thanks to Adam for sharing his story with us.  Anyone living with lupus knows just what a feat this was for him.  Just to get up the courage to participate in the light of the unpredictability of the disease, is major.   Kudos to his friends who included him and supported him in this brave endeavor.  To learn more about lupus, click here. […]

  2. Thanks for the great lupus information! Here is another great resource for lupus symptoms, lupus diagnosis and even lupus treatment!

    How Do You Get Lupus?

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