This information has been compiled for people affected by lupus. It provides general information to help you understand how you may be affected and what you can do to manage the condition. It also tells you where to find further information and advice from a lupus specialist Brisbane that you can trust.
What is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus?
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (also called SLE or lupus) is an autoimmune condition. Your body’s immune system's normal role is to fight off infections and diseases to keep you healthy. In an autoimmune disease like lupus, your immune system starts attacking your healthy tissues.
For some people, lupus may just affect the skin or joints. In other people, the lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, brain, or other body parts may also be affected. The systemic lupus erythematosus treatment Brisbane patients can access from arthritisCARE can make a significant difference to sufferers. Both in terms of pain relief and improved ability to independently get through all you need to do in a day!
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of lupus vary from person to person and symptoms may come and go at different times. Although many parts of the body can be affected, most people usually have involvement of only a few parts.
The most common symptoms are:
- joint pain or swelling, especially in the hands or feet
- skin rashes, made worse by being in the sun
- sores in the mouth or nose
- anaemia (low number of red blood cells)
The symptoms of lupus vary from person to person, and symptoms may come and go at different times.
What causes it?
It is not known what causes lupus. It is believed to be the result of various factors, including genetics, viruses, sunlight, stress and hormones acting together. However, this is yet to be proven by research.
How is it diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of lupus, you should see a Rheumatologist who will officially diagnose lupus based upon a combination of assessing your symptoms, a clinical examination and various tests. These can include blood and urine tests and further tests to check organs such as your heart and lungs.
There is no one single test that can tell whether you have lupus. It can be difficult and often take time to diagnose lupus as the symptoms can be similar to other types of arthritis. Speak to the lupus specialists Brisbane patients trust at arthritisCARE if you have any questions about your current condition.
What will happen to me?
With close follow-up and the right treatment, most people with lupus can expect to live a full and active life. However, it can cause severe and even life-threatening problems in some cases. Many people with lupus have ‘flares’ - periods when their symptoms get worse. These flares can happen with no apparent cause. There is also no way of predicting the severity of these flares nor how long they will last. They can occur more commonly during times of stress or may be triggered by sun exposure, infections and pregnancy.
People with more severe forms of lupus can have serious problems with their organs such as the kidneys, lungs and heart. If these organs are affected, you may need to see other specialists (for example, a kidney specialist if your kidneys are involved).
Find a lupus specialist Brisbane patients trust to advise on new medications that are effective in controlling the condition.
Are there lupus medications Brisbane sufferers can access for lupus?
Currently, there is no cure for lupus. However, lupus medications Brisbane patients can access for treatment have improved dramatically, with new medications that are extremely helpful in controlling the condition. Be wary of any products or therapies that claim to cure lupus.
What are the lupus treatments Brisbane patients can access?
Your Rheumatologist will tailor a systemic lupus erythematosus treatment Brisbane patients can access to suit their symptoms and the severity of the condition. There is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you.
Your doctor may need to trial several different treatments before finding the one that is right for you and may include medications such as:
- corticosteroids when the kidneys or other organs are involved
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
What can I do?
See a lupus specialist Brisbane trusts for advice. Your GP will help coordinate your treatment. As lupus is a lifelong disease, it is essential to regularly see your GP to make sure it stays under control. Your GP may also send you to a Rheumatologist, an arthritis specialist, for further tests and treatment. If you have lupus and have not seen a Rheumatologist, ask your doctor about a referral.
Learn about lupus and play an active role in your treatment. Not all information you read or hear about is trustworthy so always talk to your doctors about treatments you are thinking about trying. Self-management courses aim to help you develop skills to be actively involved in your healthcare.
Protect yourself from the sun. If your skin is sensitive to the sun, make sure you avoid the sun during peak hours and wear sunscreen, a hat and protective clothing.
Live a healthy life. Stay physically active, eat a healthy diet, stop smoking and reduce stress to help your overall health and wellbeing.
Acknowledge your feelings and seek support. As there is currently no cure for lupus, and it can affect many parts of your life, it is natural to feel scared, frustrated, sad and sometimes angry. Be aware of these feelings and get help and treatment for lupus if they start affecting your daily life.
arthritisCARE: The Systemic Lupus Erythematosus specialist Brisbane can trust
If you are looking for doctors that specialise in relief of lupus pain and discomfort, the arthritisCARE team is here to help. We have many years of experience in providing treatment for lupus and our rheumatoid specialists in Brisbane work hard to treat your condition and improve your quality of life.
The lupus treatment Brisbane patients need begins with a referral from your GP and an appointment for assessment by our Rheumatologists who specialise in lupus. The Systemic Lupus Erythematosus specialist Brisbane can access with ease is here at arthritisCARE.
Recommended further advice is available from:
Arthritis Australia's Lupus Resources page
Arthritis Australia's Printable Information Sheet about Lupus