West County Rheumatology
Rheumatologists located in Saint Louis, MO
A myriad of symptoms like rashes, memory difficulties, and fatigue may seem like separate issues, but together they could indicate lupus, a condition that affects your immune system. At West County Rheumatology in Saint Louis, the team, led by Sona Kamat, MD, FACR, specializes in diagnosing lupus and helping you manage your symptoms to live a normal life. If lupus runs in your family or if you notice several unusual symptoms at once, call West County Rheumatology or book an appointment online today.
Lupus Q & A
What is lupus?
Lupus is a condition of the immune system. If you have it, your immune system, which normally protects you against invaders and diseases, attacks your tissues and organs. It typically affects multiple organs and organ systems, including your skin, joints, heart, lungs, or brain.
The areas of your body that lupus affects become inflamed, resulting in a multitude of symptoms that might seem random or unrelated. Lupus also causes your body to have difficulty getting rid of old or dead cells, making your flare-ups of symptoms worse as dead cells accumulate.
Anyone can get the condition, but you’re more likely to get lupus if you’re a woman and if you’re African American, Hispanic, or Asian-American.
Lupus ranges from mild to severe, and life-threatening. Fortunately, the majority of cases are mild. You can live a relatively normal life with lupus as long as you take part in treatment.
What are the typical symptoms of lupus?
Several symptoms are typical of lupus, but many patients experience other, less typical symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of lupus are:
- Facial rashes (the most telling symptom of lupus)
- Skin lesions sensitive to sunlight
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Headaches or confusion
- Extremities turning white or blue
Each case of lupus presents a different combination of symptoms. In most cases, symptoms come and go with flare-ups and disappear completely for periods of time. Certain triggers often aggravate lupus, like sunlight, certain medications, or infections.
What are my treatment options for lupus?
Lupus does not currently have a cure. While experts are making strides to find one, you can manage your condition and reduce flare-ups with a treatment plan from the team at West County Rheumatology.
Once they determine that lupus is causing your symptoms, the team may recommend or prescribe these or other treatments as part of your plan:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
These over-the-counter drugs reduce mild swelling in your muscles and joints, along with the pain that comes with it.
Corticosteroids in the form of oral medications, injections, or creams can help control your immune system’s overactive response.
Biologics come from humans, animals, and other living organisms. They could be proteins, tissues, cells, or genes and are typically administered via infusion therapy for fast results. Some biologics target the specific aspect of your immune system that contributes to lupus, unlike other treatments for the condition.
Avoiding direct sunlight, following your treatment plan, and visiting West County Rheumatology regularly can all help reduce your instances of lupus flare-ups.
Call West County Rheumatology or request an appointment online for lupus assessment and symptom management today.