An autoimmune condition, lupus is a disease where the immune system goes after healthy tissues, rather than fighting bacteria and viruses. Normally, the body produces proteins known as antibodies which protect and fight against illness; however lupus makes it hard for a body’s immune to classify between antigens and healthy cells and tissue. The end result creates inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Some initial lupus symptoms include:
- Pain and swelling in joints, most often the wrists, hands, feet, elbows, knees, and ankles.
- Low-grade fever (100 degrees, or higher), with unknown cause.
- Red rashes, mostly on the face – but can be prevalent on the arms, hands, neck or back.
- Chest pain when taking a deep breath, often sufferers complain about shortness in breath.
- Pale/purple fingers or toes, especially when cold.
- Sensitivity to the sun, as well as light in general.
- Ulcers in and around the mouth and nose area.
- Fatigue that simply won’t go away.
As the effects of these symptoms vary from individual to individual, so do the treatments for lupus. Some sufferers of the condition describe mild symptoms; while others often feel severe pain. The signs of lupus also can come in waves, referred to as flares, appearing and disappearing within periods of time. While some maybe temporary, others can remain permanent; with new symptoms popping up after a while. As such, the goals for lupus treatments include:
- Control symptoms.
- Relieve flare ups.
- Decrease inflammation.
- Avoid further complications, like damaging vital organs.
Below is an overview of treatments that can help individuals with lupus live a normal, active lifestyle.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: This can help control the swelling, and joint pain that accompanies lupus. Some of these types of this medication, like ibuprofen, can also help with low-grade fevers that some lupus sufferers experience. Additionally, there are types of anti-inflammatory drugs which don’t necessarily need a doctor’s prescription.
Antimalarial Drugs: This type of medication can help ease the pain and treat those individuals with mouth and nose sores, skin rashes, and general joint pain.
Corticosteroids: After a while, lupus can attack body organs like your heart, lungs, kidneys, brains, and blood vessels. As lupus attacks healthy tissues, instead of viruses, corticosteroids helps weaken this response, to help decrease the risk of damaged organs. It can also help with joint pain and swelling. Unfortunately, this treatment also has its side effects. First, it increases the chance of getting infections. It can also cause bone damage, weakens your muscles, and make individuals more susceptible to diabetes, and cataracts.