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Systemic Lupus Specialist

Arthritis Associates -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Associates

Rheumatology & Arthritis located in San Antonio, TX

Unlike most autoimmune disorders, which target specific tissues and organs, systemic lupus affects multiple areas of your body. The rheumatology experts at Arthritis Associates in San Antonio, Texas, are highly experienced in diagnosing systemic lupus and offer a variety of advanced therapies to relieve your symptoms. To benefit from compassionate care and holistic treatment of your systemic lupus, call Arthritis Associates to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.

Systemic Lupus Q&A

What is systemic lupus?

Systemic lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) is an autoimmune disorder. It develops from a fault in your immune system that makes it destroy healthy cells and tissues as though they posed a threat.

Most autoimmune diseases affect specific parts of your body. For example, with rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system targets your joint linings, while with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the damage occurs in your gastrointestinal system.

Systemic lupus is unlike these other conditions in that it affects multiple systems, tissues, and organs, most commonly your:

  • Skin
  • Joints
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Brain

The tissues under attack become inflamed, causing damage that triggers multiple symptoms and leads to numerous complications.

What symptoms does systemic lupus cause?

One of the tell-tale signs of systemic lupus is a butterfly rash that covers your cheeks and nose. However, there are many other possible symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Unexplained Fever
  • Pericarditis
  • Pleuritis
  • Painful, swollen joints
  • Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Chorea (involuntary body movements)
  • Swollen feet, legs, or hands
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Chest pain
  • Vasculitis

Around 80-90% of people with lupus also develop joint pain or arthritis. Lupus arthritis typically affects the hand, wrist, and knee joints.

To diagnose systemic lupus, the team at Arthritis Associates conducts a comprehensive exam and review of your symptoms and medical history. 

The team may also run blood tests at their on-site lab to check for signs of autoimmune disorders and inflammation indicators and might perform diagnostic imaging tests to evaluate your internal organs.

What treatments are available for systemic lupus?

There's no cure for systemic lupus, but the team at Arthritis Associates provides carefully selected treatments to slow down the progression of the disease and reduce your symptoms to a more manageable level.

Potential treatments include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Steroid creams (for rashes)
  • Corticosteroid injections for joints
  • Antimalarial drugs (for joint and skin problems)
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Stress management

If your systemic lupus causes severe symptoms, you might benefit from taking immunosuppressive drugs to lower the intensity of your immune system response. Biologics that target specific immune system functions can also be highly effective.

Type 1 interferon (type I IFN) receptor antagonist anifrolumab-fnia is one of the leading treatments for adults with moderate to severe systemic lupus.

To determine whether you have systemic lupus or another autoimmune disorder and receive the most up-to-date, proven treatments for your condition, call Arthritis Associates to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.