I’ve heard more than one person ask, “where can I find a lupus specialist near me?” Hearing someone ask the question can be somewhat disheartening in as much as I know how much pain and discomfort this disease causes. Yet I also know that lupus is very treatable. Lupus patients throughout the UK go on to lead quality lives despite having to learn how to manage their condition.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is considered part of the larger category of rheumatic conditions. It is classified as being autoimmune due to the fact that the patient’s own immune system attacks the body’s organs and tissues. This results in a variety of problems, including widespread inflammation.
Main Symptoms of the Disease
Lupus is not the easiest disease to diagnose. As such, I recommend private lupus treatment from an experienced rheumatologist who knows what to look for. That being said, the more common symptoms specialists look for include:
- joint and muscle aches and pains
- frequent headaches, especially migraine
- profound weakness and fatigue
- regular flu-like symptoms
- unexplained weight gain or loss
- light sensitivity combined with skin rashes
- poor circulation in the toes and fingers.
There are many other symptoms that may or may not present with lupus. These include things such as depression, oral and nasal ulcers, and hair loss. I would strongly encourage you to see a lupus specialist if you commonly experience more than one or two of the symptoms listed here.
How We Diagnose Lupus
While lupus is easier to diagnose than some other diseases, it is not as easy as diagnosing a broken bone. We typically start with symptom observation and questions designed to help us understand how patients are feeling. If there is reason to believe lupus is the culprit, we can order some fairly simple blood tests.
One of the blood tests looks specifically at a certain kind of antibody we expect to see in lupus patients. A positive test result combined with symptom observation tells us that lupus is likely the issue. We can order x-rays and heart scans if blood tests do not prove definitive.
How Lupus is Treated
Treatment for lupus is based on the knowledge that symptoms can come and go. A typical patient will experience mild to moderate symptoms with occasional flare ups. The main treatment goal is to manage symptoms to the extent that they finally settle down and the patient goes into remission.
Pharmacological treatments are the preferred approach at this time. Doctors generally recommend anti-inflammatory medicines to control pain and bring down inflammation. Ibuprofen is a good candidate for many patients.
Steroid treatments can help with skin rashes and kidney inflammation. Steroids can be administered orally, with creams, or through injections. For treating fatigue and more complex joint problems, a drug known as hydroxychloroquine is the preferred option.
The most severe cases can be treated with newer medications that aren’t necessarily given to patients suffering only mild and moderate symptoms. These are medications designed to manage symptoms by suppressing the immune system, so they have to be used judiciously.
If you have been looking for a lupus specialist near you, consider contacting my Harley Street office in Central London. I specialise in rheumatic diseases ranging from lupus to arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica. If I can help you manage your pain and discomfort, I would be honoured by the opportunity to do so.
Please also look at my Lupus webpage on www.privatelondonrheumatologist.com/Lupus