According to the Lupus Foundation of America, almost two million people are living with lupus, a complex autoimmune condition. Through her practice at Katy Rheumatology & Associates in Katy, Texas, Padma Chimata, MD, offers personalized lupus care that helps people live their best possible lives. When you’re ready to learn more, schedule a visit online or by phone.
Lupus is an autoimmune condition characterized by inflammation and pain. Like all autoimmune conditions, lupus occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common form of lupus and can affect any of your organs in addition to your joints or blood. Symptoms usually come and go, flaring up at times before subsiding completely.
Discoid lupus erythematosus affects only your skin. Thick, scaly rashes can develop and last anywhere from a few days to several years. This type of lupus usually affects your scalp, face, and neck. Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus only develops on areas of skin that are exposed to the sun.
Drug-induced lupus develops as a reaction to certain types of medications. Symptoms usually decrease once you stop taking the drug.
Neonatal lupus is present at birth and can cause skin lesions, low blood counts, and liver problems. Women with lupus or another autoimmune condition should be closely monitored throughout pregnancy.
Researchers are uncertain of the exact cause of lupus, but there seems to be a strong genetic factor at play. People of color have higher disease rates, and your risk level rises if you have a close family member who also has lupus.
Hormones also appear to influence lupus, and studies indicate that estrogen affects the antibody production that leads to lupus. This might explain why women are nearly nine times more likely than men to develop lupus.
Environmental factors can contribute to lupus. Viral infections, smoking, certain medications, and even exposure to sunlight can trigger lupus outbreaks. Researchers are currently looking at the role gut microbiota plays in developing lupus.
Diagnosing lupus can be challenging, mainly because so many of the symptoms are common among other types of disease. At Katy Rheumatology & Associates, state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and techniques are used to determine the source of your symptoms.
Blood testing is a primary means of diagnosing lupus. These tests can reveal biomarkers that suggest lupus and can even help determine which type of lupus is present.
Urine testing can detect signs of lupus and also play a role in revealing how well your kidneys are functioning. Tissue biopsies and imaging tests might also impact the diagnostic process, and monitoring tests can track how well your body responds to your treatment plan.
Once your practitioner understands the type of lupus you have, a customized treatment plan is crafted to suit your specific needs. Your plan might shift over time, but you’ll be fully supported as you navigate the process.
To learn more or get your lupus treatment started, call Katy Rheumatology & Associates to book a visit. Online scheduling is also an option.