If your family doctor suspects you have lupus, they may refer you to a rheumatologist for treatment. A rheumatologist may order additional testing, study your medical history, and do a physical examination to confirm the diagnosis. These are some of the complications of this medical condition and the treatments your rheumatologist might recommend.
How Lupus Affects Your Body
Lupus manifests in different ways. The disease can sometimes have serious complications since it can affect your lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain in addition to your skin. This is one reason proper care and treatment is important. Dealing with lupus goes beyond clearing up your skin and managing pain. Your doctor will monitor your condition and provide treatment that's targeted to the way lupus affects your body. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in your bones, connective tissues, or organs. It can also cause pain and rashes on your skin.
Treatments That Might Help Lupus
Medications are often prescribed for lupus, and your doctor has different types of medication to use. Corticosteroids might be given when you have a flare for the purpose of reducing inflammation. Your doctor might prescribe biologic drugs, immunosuppressants, or anti-inflammatory medications. You might even take anti-malarial drugs since these affect the immune system and can help control flares.
Besides medications that target the autoimmune disease, your doctor may also prescribe treatments for conditions caused or made worse by your lupus. You may need treatments for lung, heart, or kidney disease. Since lupus can affect your bones, you might need treatment for osteoporosis.
Lifestyle modifications may also be necessary. Lupus can cause fatigue or pain, which may lead you to become sedentary and increase your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Your doctor may encourage you to do appropriate exercise daily, eat a healthy diet, stop smoking, and adopt a healthy lifestyle. You may also be encouraged to stay out of the sun since sunlight exposure can trigger lupus flares.
Since lupus affects people in different ways, it can be difficult to diagnose. You may have mild symptoms or a more serious case. That's why seeing a rheumatologist is helpful. You'll get a diagnosis and finally have an explanation for your health problems, and then you can learn how to live with lupus. There isn't a cure for lupus yet, but the condition can be managed through lifestyle behaviors, medication, and medical treatments as needed. You'll probably have frequent visits with your rheumatologist, and it's important to keep your appointments so the doctor can track your condition and make changes to your treatment plan as needed to help you live as well as possible with your condition.