What is Lupus?

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or lupus as it is known is a long term condition that causes sufferers to experience inflammation in the joints as well as the skin and organs. It is an autoimmune disease which means that the body’s natural defence system attacks the healthy tissue in the body.

While it is not known what causes it, often strong medication, a viral infection or the menopause among other things can cause the condition to appear. Lupus is more common in women than men while it is more common in certain races.

Diagnosing Lupus

Lupus can display symptoms that are very similar to that of other conditions which means that the diagnosis can take time. Your doctor is likely to carry out some blood tests which will help to identify a high level of an antibody, which when combined with the symptoms can mean that lupus is present. As lupus can affect a number of organs, it is common for patients to be sent for X-rays and scans.

Once the condition has been diagnosed, it is advised that patients are given regular checks and tests.

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Treating Lupus

Treating lupus is more about treating the symptoms individually as there is no known cure. This means that anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen might be used while drugs such as hydroxychloroquine are used to treat fatigue as well as skin and joint problems. For kidney inflammation and rashes, steroid tablets, injections or creams will be prescribed.

In those cases where the patient is suffering from severe lupus, there are two new medicines available known as rituximab and belimumab.

Managing Lupus

Patients can also control their symptoms in many different ways which can involve a healthy and balanced diet while remaining active during a flare-up can help.

Rest is extremely important and that is why relaxation techniques are recommended to deal with stress which can cause symptoms to worsen. Sunlight can cause a flare-up which means that sufferers should use a high-factor sunscreen while a hat can help when out in the sun.

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Lupus FAQs

Q: What is the best treatment for lupus?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating lupus. As there is no cure currently for the disease, all medical treatments are geared towards managing lupus symptoms to help you live more comfortably with the condition.

A combination approach is usually used tailored to the individual patient and the severity of their symptoms. You may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and steroid injections, creams or tablets, rituximab, belimumab, and hydroxychloroquine to manage other symptoms such as fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain and kidney issues.

Q: Who is the best lupus specialist in London?

Dr Naveen Bhadauria is considered one of the leading rheumatologists in the country. He practices as a substantive NHS Consultant Rheumatologist at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust. He holds private practices running from the prestigious and world-renowned clinic rooms of Spire London East, and BMI Cavell.

Dr Bhadauria specialises in diagnosing and long-term care of patients with all aspects of rheumatoid inflammatory conditions and connective tissue diseases, such as lupus.

Q: Does a rheumatologist treat lupus?

Most people think that a rheumatologist would treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. They do but go through years of medical training to diagnose and treat diseases of the muscles and bones and autoimmune disorders, such as lupus.

A rheumatologist can diagnose and treat many diseases that involve multiple organ systems and complex differential diagnoses. They are trained to detect and diagnose the cause of inflammation and pain. It is not uncommon for your rheumatologist to work alongside other physicians and medical professionals to help you manage your condition for lupus patients.

Q: What are lupus symptoms?

Lupus sufferers can experience many different wide-ranging symptoms, but because other conditions can show the same symptoms, it is important to be correctly diagnosed by a specialist such as Dr Bhadauria.

In general, to be diagnosed with lupus you may need to be experiencing four or more of the following symptoms:

  • Arthritis affecting two or more joints
  • Low levels of haemoglobin, white cells and/or platelets
  • Neurological symptoms such as seizures or psychosis
  • Photosensitivity
  • Recurring ulcers within the mouth or nose
  • Red patches of skin with scaling
  • Renal inflammation of the kidneys called the glomerulus
  • Serositis: Inflammation of the membranes that line the lungs or heart
  • Skin rash over cheeks
  • Skin very sensitive to sunlight

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If you would like to find out more about the treatments that Dr. Naveen Bhadauria offers or have any questions please get in touch with his PA using the link below.