Television Show “Royal Pains” Highlights Lupus
February 02, 2012
The USA Network television show “Royal Pains” recently has brought increased attention and awareness to lupus through a recurring character, “Jack,” who has developed lupus. Jack’s storyline has highlighted two important aspects of the disease: lupus nephritis (kidney involvement) and men and lupus.
Below is a very brief overview of these topics. We encourage you to read more on the LFA Website.
Men and Lupus
A lot of misinformation exists about lupus—including the incorrect belief that lupus only occurs in women. Anyone can develop lupus -- males or females of any age, including children, teenagers, and adults. Approximately 10 percent of all cases of lupus develop in males while 90 percent develop in females, most often between the ages of 15-44.
In general, men and women share the same lupus features of the disease, although the frequency can vary. For example, men are more likely to experience renal (kidney) involvement. However, lupus has a very wide range of features, that affect each person differently. It is not possible to predict how lupus may affect any particular individual living with the disease. Doctors always are on the alert for possible changes in an individual’s health status and any new features or symptoms that may develop during the course of the disease.
The treatment of lupus is the same for men and women and is determined by the individual’s unique symptoms and their impact.
More information about lupus and men and the related research that LFA is funding on this topic can be found on the LFA Web site.
Lupus nephritis is the term used when lupus causes inflammation in your kidneys.
It is estimated that as many as 40 percent of all people with lupus, and as many as two-thirds of all children with lupus, will develop kidney complications that require medical evaluation and treatment. Because there are so few symptoms of kidney disease, significant damage to your kidneys can happen before you are diagnosed with lupus. Lupus nephritis most often develops within the first five years after the symptoms of lupus start, and usually affects people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Even though lupus nephritis is among the more serious complications of lupus, there are effective treatments. Prednisone and other corticosteroids generally are prescribed to stop the inflammation. Immunosuppressive drugs may also be used (with or in place of steroid treatments), such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), azathioprine (Imuran®), cyclosporin A, and mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept®).
Most people who develop lupus nephritis will live a normal lifespan as long as they continue to receive proper treatment, follow their doctor’s advice, and take steps to protect their health.
More information about lupus nephritis and the related research that LFA is funding on this topic can be found on the LFA Web site.