- Published on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 04:08
- Written by BlackAmericaWeb.com
Got a question for doctor regarding lupus? Text your questions to '646464' (OHOHOH).
The stresses of today can be enough to drain you. Exhaustion is very common among women as we wear many different hats. But extreme fatigue, as well as other symptoms, may point to a serious health problem. Lupus is a disease in which the body attacks its own healthy tissues and organs. It can damage the joints, skin, kidneys, and other parts of the body.
The cause of lupus is unknown. African-American women are three times more likely to get lupus than white women. African-American women tend to develop lupus at a younger age and have more severe symptoms than white women.
The signs of lupus differ from person to person. Some people have just a few signs, while others have more. Common symptoms include:
* Joint pain and stiffness, with or without swelling
* Muscle aches and pains
* Fever with no known cause
* Feeling very tired
* Skin rashes
* Anemia (uh-NEE-me-uh)
* Trouble thinking, memory problems, confusion
* Kidney problems with no known cause
* Chest pain when taking a deep breath
* Butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks
* Sun or light sensitivity
* Hair loss
About Dr. Sherrer
Dr. Sherrer graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She did her internship, residency and fellow ship in Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford University. She served as Chairman of the department of Rheumatology at Cleveland Clinic Florida for 8 years prior to opening her own Center: Centre for Rheumatology Immunology and Arthritis. She is currently the medical director there.
Dr. Sherrer has been on numerous national committees including serving a four-year term on the FDA advisory committee for arthritis. She has numerous publications and has been the Principal Investigator in over 150 clinical trials almost exclusively related to arthritis therapeutics. She is a past president of the Florida Society of Rheumatology and is a member of the volunteer clinical staff of the department of Rheumatology at University of Miami. She is an educator and is regularly invited to lecture to physician and other audiences.
If my uncle has Lupus on my mother's side, can I get it?
While there is a genetic predisposition for getting SLE, it’s not passed like the color of skin, hair or eyes; so your risks are low.
What are the symptoms for women?
The symptoms vary: fatigue, joint aches, rash and hair loss are among the most common.
My girl has had lupus since she was 15. Now she is 35. She takes steroids, but it blows her up and she has all of the symptoms. How long can you live with lupus?
With proper treatment and monitoring, many have lived well into old age. Lupus patients have a high risk of cardiovascular disease and must be monitored for that.
What are the symptoms of lupus and are the feet impacted?
Symptoms vary and the feet can be impacted.
I have an autoimmune disease and I am a patient at the ultra-wellness center and they have helped me tremendously. I'm on my way to being cured.
There are reasons why our bodies attack itself. Find a functional medicine doctor!
Do a lot of Asians get Lupus?
Are we able to prevent the disease?
What age does lupus usually appear in black women? I know you can get it during childhood, but is it possible to develop the disease after age 40?
The typical age of onset is 20-40 but, yes, it can occur after age 40.
Do you just develop lupus or is it hereditary only?
Many people develop lupus without any known hereditary predisposition.
My 22-year-old nephew is now facing a second bout of reactive arthritis. The last round, two years ago, was very debilitating. What should he do? How can we keep it from recurring in the future?
He needs to be closely monitored by a lupus specialist. That's your best safeguard.
Are there any preventive methods I can take?
Good health, proper nutrition and sun avoidance.
What is swelling in the eyefuls mean?
It could mean many different things and needs to be seen to be diagnosed.
Can you tell me something about skin lupus?
There are different types of skin lupus; discoid and subacute are examples.
What about African-American children? What could happen? What are our chances?
Children can get lupus and delay in diagnosis and treatment can be devastating. Statistics vary.
I would like to know if lupus can affect your skin and give you bumps?
My mother cannot go out into the sun without developing a severe rash all over her body and even causing her throat to close. They tested her for lupus and it came back negative. Aren't there multiple types? Could this be a form of lupus?
Photo-sensitivity can be related to lupus, but there are also other causes.
What if a person takes them self off of Prednisone? What effect can that have on the body?
The effects of self-stopping prednisone can potentially be devastating - dialysis or worse! Follow your physician's instructions.
What is lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks itself. It's the same as the military concept of "friendly fire."
How do they test for lupus?
By doing a proper examination, blood test and urine test.
Does swelling joints & kidney disease mean you have lupus?
Joint swelling and kidney disease is a common combination of symptoms in lupus. However, it is not specific for lupus. There are other disorders that can cause this combination. An evaluation by an expert is necessary to make the distinctions.
What kind of test should you ask your doctor to give to check for lupus?
A proper physical examination, blood test and urine tests, but sometimes biopsies and x-rays are needed.
How does discord lupus affect your organs? Can discord lupus turn into the other kind?
Discoid lupus can be limited to the skin only. That type does not affect the internal organs. However, those with systemic lupus can also have discoid skin lesions. Typically, only a small percentage with Discoid only lupus will go on to develop systemic lupus.
I want to ask the doctor about Benlysta? I am scheduled to begin infusions on June 29th. This drug has been showing that it attacks the antibodies in the blood stream that causes the cell confusion. A lot of African-Americans did not participate in the first studies. Benlysta is the first biologic therapy for lupus.
You are correct. There were relatively few African-Americans in the first trial so conclusions could not be drawn about its effectiveness in African-Americans. To remedy that a trial will be starting later this year or early next year to specifically address the question of whether Benlysta is as effective for African-Americans.
I have Lupus Nephritis stage 4 but in partial remission. I have random joint locking in my elbows so I walk around like its broken. My doctor gives me cortico shots but it comes back. This is the worst it has been. Do you know if one day it can all come back?
The information given is too limited to make any type of conclusions. Typically autoimmune disorders "wax and wane". That means there are naturally occurring cycles of improvement and worsening that is just part of the disease itself. We do not know why that is the case.
I have lupus and I am on prednisone. Why do I gain weight in my stomach? It looks like I am pregnant. And I am very moody . Why do I change so often?
Steroids cause a specific pattern of weight gain that included truncal (abdominal) obesity and facial (moon facies) obesity. Steroids can affect the mood, emotions and psychological well-being.
I have RA with no treatment except predisone. I need some other form of management because I can't take treatments such as Enbrel because of a preexisting condition.
You do need some other form of treatment. How about methotrexate? How about joining a clinical trial? Check with your rheumatologist.
Is severe bleeding of the rectum a symptom of lupus?
Severe bleeding in the rectum deserves immediate medical attention. There are other conditions more likely to cause this than lupus.
Since lupus is a great imitator, what makes doctors check for it?
When the patient's pattern of symptoms are consistent with patterns we see in lupus.
I have had lupus for two years. It has affected my kidneys. Will I need dialysis in the future?
Many patients with lupus nephritis end up on dialysis if the lupus is not controlled.
I am a 55-year-old black woman with Scleroderma. So far I have had to have both hips replaced and bone replacement in both feet. Is there any drug to help?
There are no cures for scleroderma but modern treatment programs can help. See a rheumatologist with experience in scleroderma.
Do you treat many with RA that is secondary topulmonary hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension is a complication of many autoimmune diseases, most notably lupus or scleroderma. It's rarer but possible with RA.
What blood test should women ask for during their yearly exams for lupus?
There is no yearly test/screening for lupus.
I'm 62, 179 lbs 5'11 and in good health. I went to the doctor Tuesdayfor severe swelling and pain around my right ankle. I've experienced this off and on for over the last few years. The doctor said I do not have blood clots, andgave me a shot for pain. Should I see a specialist?
Yes, in this situation it's advisable to see a specialist. (Rheumatologist).
The doctor’s diagnosis is fibromyalgia. I don't agree. Is there more than one test? I have many of the symptoms but no rash so they diagnosed fibromyalgia.
A rheumatologist is trained to distinguish fibromyalgia from lupus. I would suggest seeing a rheumatologist or getting a second opinion if you've already seen one.
My daughter has recently experienced swelling in her hands with some itching. It is intermittent. She has a sickle cell trait and has experienced pain in her legs where she missed a day in school , but that was infrequent. She is 20. Are these symptoms of lupus?
In a setting of sickle cell anemia it will be important not to confuse unusual manifestations of sickle cell with lupus. However, rare individuals can have both diseases. A specialist is needed to sort this out.
What if you are having muscle pain in your upper front thigh?
There are many potential causes of thigh pain. I would start with an evaluation by your primary care physician.
My younger sister, her daughter and, last week, a first cousin has died from lupus complications. I'm concerned for my two-year-old great niece. Is lupus hereditary?
There is a genetic predisposition, but it's not passed on like skin color or hair color. Nevertheless, the pediatrician should be made aware of that family history so that when and if appropriate testing could be done, but this should be based on signs and symptoms, not routine testing which can lead many astray.
I was diagnosed with lupus initially then a connective tissue disorder & when I started having more pain in my joints & more fatigued & depressed. The doctor came up with fibromyalgia.Personally, I feel the symptoms I have are closer to lupus. I cut my hair because it was falling out, I am really fatigued, and I have the ulcers in my mouth, but my ANA says negative. What do you think?
It is exceedingly rare to have lupus and a truly negative ANA. And even cases of a negative ANA usually another auto antibody or a biopsy is positive. Fibromyalgia symptoms [are similar to] some of the non-specific lupus symptoms such as fatigue and aches. However, about 33% of patients with lupus will develop fibromyalgia.