It’s estimated that at least 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide are living with lupus. Identified as far back as the 13th century by the physician Rogerius in his book The Practice of Surgery, it derives its name from its distinctive facial rash which was described as resembling a wolf’s bite.
In the modern age, lupus overwhelming affects women (with men only accounting for 10% of all known cases) and tends to run in families. Over the years, research has revealed dozens of genetic variants linked to lupus, with symptoms typically developing between the ages of 15 and 44. Fortunately, thanks to those same decades of research, Lupus is no longer the deadly diagnosis it once was. However, the symptoms do need to be constantly managed and properly monitored to ensure a long and healthy life.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease, causing inflammation and pain in all parts of the body. The most common body systems affected by lupus include your joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, brain, and blood vessels. Lupus affects everyone different and there are a variety of symptoms associated with the disease.
Common symptoms include but are not limited to:
- swelling in the hands, feet, joints, and around the eyes
- low-grade fever
- sensitivity to light
- memory problems
One of the most common and distinct signs of lupus is a butterfly shaped rash across the nose and cheeks, though it’s important to note that it does not manifest in all cases. For most people with lupus, their symptoms are mild with episodes of increased discomfort, called flares. While there are certain prescription drugs that can cause lupus, it appears most cases are caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors.
Though physical symptoms are predominantly mild, lupus has a profound impact on the body over time. One in three respondents to a Lupus Foundation of America survey reported being temporarily disabled by the disease. Additionally, without the proper treatment, lupus has the potential to become deadly. Prolonged inflammation damages organs, leading to organ failure and death in 10-15% of patients. It’s important to seek medical attention to properly monitor and mitigate the inflammatory symptoms of lupus.
The Great Imitator
Diagnosing lupus can be incredibly difficult because the symptoms often mimic those of other diseases like arthritis and diabetes. There are no early warning signs of lupus, and the wide variety of possible symptoms certainly doesn’t help in reaching a diagnosis. But since lupus tends to be related to genetics, a family history of lupus or other autoimmune disorders can be an invaluable indicator. On average, it takes patients about 6 years from the first onset of symptoms to reach a lupus diagnosis, with the majority receiving at least one misdiagnosis along the way.
There is currently no cure for lupus, however, there are treatments designed to help prevent flares, treat symptoms, and reduce organ damage. In the case of drug-induced lupus, treatment consists of discontinuing whatever prescription medication is causing the lupus symptoms. In the more common forms of lupus, treatment typically includes medicines to reduce swelling and pain, and calm your immune system. Antimalarial drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine, are typically prescribed for life-long use to prevent flares and protect against irreversible organ damage. Other prescription medication options include immunosuppressive agents, corticosteroids, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, though the benefits of these medications must be weighed against the potential side effects.
How the ReBuilder® Can Help
Lupus can cause neuropathy through the inflammation and damage of the nerves and surrounding tissue. About 6% of people with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus, report having peripheral neuropathy and at least one study has shown that small-fiber neuropathy is common among people with SLE. This form of neuropathy presents more generalized, full-body pain patterns as lupus targets nerves both in the peripherals and where they connect to the spine.
Since there is currently no cure for lupus, the best way to manage it is by treating the symptoms. Luckily, the ReBuilder® is here to help!
The soothing pulses from the ReBuilder® work to recondition the nerves, gently stimulating the nervous system to improve circulation and reduce inflammation! Our happy patients have been using ReBuilder® to reduce inflammation and nerve pain for over 34 years. But if you’d rather try it first, give us a call at 877-717-5487 or check out our Find A Doctor page and we can help direct you to the nearest participating physician. Or if you’re ready to experience treatment from the comfort of your home, check out our online store at the link below!
- What Is Lupus? | Lupus Foundation of America
- Lupus Symptoms | Lupus Foundation of America
- Lupus facts and statistics | Lupus Foundation of America
- Lupus - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
- Diagnosing and Treating Lupus | CDC
- Peripheral Neuropathies in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Clinical Features, Disease Associations, and Immunologic Characteristics Evaluated Over a Twenty‐Five–Year Study Period (wiley.com)
- How Lupus Affects the Nervous System | Lupus Foundation of America
- The history of lupus | Lupus Foundation of America