Lupus

Arizona Arthritis Clinic, PLLC -  - Rheumatologist

Arizona Arthritis Clinic, PLLC

Rheumatologist located in Chandler, AZ

Lupus is a chronic disease that causes skin rashes and joint inflammation and pain. It can also damage major organs like your kidneys. Amer Al-Khoudari, MD, FACR, at Arizona Arthritis Clinic, PLLC, helps patients manage their symptoms, stay healthy, and maintain active lives. If you have questions about lupus or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call the office in Chandler, Arizona, or use the online booking feature.

Lupus Q & A

What is lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect your joints and any organ system in your body, including your skin, kidneys, and lungs. Autoimmune disease develops when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, causing inflammation and damage.

There are several types of lupus:

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

SLE is the most common type of lupus. It’s called systemic because it affects many organ systems, but it’s known for causing chronic inflammation in your joints, skin, and kidneys.

Cutaneous lupus

While skin rashes are common with SLE, cutaneous lupus only affects your skin, causing a round, raised, scaly rash.

Drug-induced lupus

Certain medications cause lupus-like symptoms even though the patient doesn’t have SLE. This type of lupus goes away within a few months of stopping the medication.

Childhood lupus

When children develop lupus, it generally affects certain organs, such as the kidneys. The incidence of kidney disease in childhood lupus is about double compared to adult lupus.

What symptoms develop due to lupus?

The symptoms you’ll develop depend on the type of lupus and the area of your body that’s affected. SLE causes a characteristic butterfly rash, which appears on your face and mimics the shape of butterfly wings as it spreads across both cheeks.

Other symptoms caused by lupus include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Skin lesions
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion or memory loss

Lupus symptoms appear differently for each patient. Your symptoms may develop gradually or appear suddenly. They may be mild or severe. Many patients cycle between flares when their symptoms worsen for a while and periods of remission when their symptoms improve or disappear.

How is lupus treated?

Sunlight often causes a rash to appear and may trigger a more serious flare, so it’s important to avoid excessive sun exposure. Beyond being careful about sunlight, your treatment depends on the type of lupus, the severity of the disease, and the organ that’s affected.

Treatment generally consists of medications such as:

  • NSAIDs to reduce joint swelling, pain, fever, and inflammation
  • Antimalarial drugs to treat fatigue, rashes, and lupus-related arthritis
  • Corticosteroids to reduce significant inflammation
  • Immunosuppressants to treat serious problems involving the kidneys, lungs, or heart
  • Biologics to reduce symptoms, especially during severe flares

If you develop a skin rash or joint pain, call Arizona Arthritis Clinic or book an appointment online.