- joint and muscle pain
- extreme tiredness that will not go away no matter how much you rest
- rashes – often over the nose and cheeks
These are the main symptoms of lupus.
You might also have:
- mouth sores
- high temperature
- hair loss
- sensitivity to light (causing rashes on uncovered skin)
Lupus is better managed if it's found and treated early.
Treatment for lupus
Lupus is generally treated using:
- anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen
- hydroxychloroquine for fatigue and skin and joint problems
- steroid tablets, injections and creams for kidney inflammation and rashes
Two medicines, rituximab and belimumab, are sometimes used to treat severe lupus. These work on the immune system to reduce the number of antibodies in the blood.
Living with lupus: things you can do yourself
Although medicines are important in controlling lupus, you can help manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of it getting worse.
use high-factor (50+) sunscreen – you can get it on prescription if you have lupus
learn to pace yourself to avoid getting too tired
try to stay active even on a bad day
try relaxation techniques to manage stress – stress can make symptoms worse
wear a hat in the sun
tell your employer about your condition – you might be able to adjust your working pattern
ask for help from family, friends and health professionals
eat a healthy, balanced diet, including vitamin D and calcium
do not smoke – stopping smoking is the most important thing to do if you have lupus
do not sit in direct sunlight or spend a lot of time in rooms with fluorescent lights
Causes of lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. This means the body's natural defence system (immune system) attacks healthy parts of your body.
It's not contagious.
The causes of lupus are not fully understood. Possible causes include:
- viral infection
- certain medicines
More women than men get lupus, and it's more common in black and Asian women.
Symptoms of lupus include joint and muscle pain, extreme tiredness and a rash on your face.
There's currently no cure for lupus, but the symptoms can often be treated with medicines that reduce inflammation in your body, such as steroids.
Lupus is caused by your immune system mistakenly attacking healthy parts of your body. It's not fully understood why this happens.
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