Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs.

Lupus occurs more frequently in women than it does in men, though it isn’t clear why. Four types of lupus exist — systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus. Of these, systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common and serious form of lupus.

The outlook for people with lupus was once grim, but diagnosis and treatment of lupus has improved considerably. With treatment, most people with lupus can lead active lives.

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) estimates between 1.5 – 2 million Americans have a form of lupus, but the actual number may be higher. More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women. Symptoms and diagnosis occur most often when women are in their child-bearing years, between the ages of 15 and 45.

In the United States, lupus is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans than in Caucasians.

Signs and Symptoms

No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus experience episodes — called “flares” — of worsening signs and symptoms that eventually improve or even disappear completely for a time.

The signs and symptoms of lupus that you experience will depend on which body systems are affected by the disease. But, in general, lupus signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Butterfly-shaped rash (malar rash) on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose
  • Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
  • Mouth sores
  • Hair loss (alopecia)
  • Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Easy bruising
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Memory loss

Causes

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that instead of just attacking foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses, your immune system also turns against healthy tissue. This leads to inflammation and damage to various parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain.

Doctors don’t know what causes autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. It’s likely that lupus results from a combination of your genetics and your environment. Doctors believe that you may inherit a predisposition to lupus, but not lupus itself. Instead, people with an inherited predisposition for lupus may only develop the disease when they come into contact with something in the environment that can trigger lupus, such as a medication or a virus.

Integrative Medicine Treatment Options

We combine the best of conventional medicine with the best of complementary and alternative therapies to give you optimal results.

Here are some options we use at Alliance Integrative Medicine LOCATED IN Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal Therapies, Supplements & Medication
  • Mind/Body Relaxation Techniques
  • Energy Healing
  • Medical Massage Therapy

Our lupus patients come to us from Westchester/Liberty Township, Mason, Indian Hill, Hyde Park and Loveland as well as Springdale, Terrace Park, Blue Ash, Finneytown, Reading and from all across the United States.