Ask the Doctor: Lupus Awareness Month

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 1:03 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every Tuesday on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

May is Lupus Awareness Month, and the Lupus Foundation of America says around 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus.

This week, we decided to dive in with Dr. Bob and learn more about lupus.

Question #1: “What is lupus?”

DR. BOB: Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect almost every organ in the body.

The cause is not entirely known, but it is suspected to be related to genetics, hormonal influence, and possibly environmental factors.

It is more common among women, which is why we think hormones, such as estrogen, play a role. It is more common among Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans.

Interestingly, it is more common among people who live in cities rather than rural areas.

Question #2: “What are the symptoms of lupus?”

DR. BOB: In lupus, the body makes too many unnecessary proteins, which end up damaging different organs.

As I mentioned, the proteins can affect most of the body. Thus, people with lupus can have many and wide-ranging symptoms.

Some of the classic symptoms are facial rash and joint pain. However, people can also have fatigue, mouth ulcers, and problems of the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and blood.

Lupus can usually be diagnosed with blood work and an exam with a physician.

Question #3 “What treatment options are available?”

DR. BOB: As lupus is an autoimmune disorder, the approach to treatment is to tamper down the immune system.

The medicines that do this are called immunosuppressants. There are some old immunosuppressants that are still very effective for lupus, such as hydroxychloroquine, along with newer medicines.

The goal is to stop inflammation and organ damage. Treatment can be complex though because of medicine side effects and the need to manage different complications from organ damage.

Lupus is a difficult diagnosis, but treatment has improved during the 20th century.

Latest News

Latest News