How Lupus Affects the Body
The Cardiopulmonary System
For those with lupus it is very important to know the differences between cardiopulmonary complications and non-lupus related problems. How lupus can affect the heart, lungs, blood and circulatory system will be covered in this section.
The Gastrointestinal System
People with lupus may be affected by problems in any area of the GI system, including the surrounding organs such as the stomach, liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and the gallbladder. This section will provide you with an overview on how lupus can impact the gastrointestinal system.
The Musculoskeletal System
More than 90 percent of people with SLE will experience joint and/or muscle pain at some time during the course of their illness. This section will discuss how lupus can affect the muscles, joints, tendons, and bones in those with lupus.
The Nervous System
Although nervous system involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is unclear and controversial, people with lupus do often experience signs associated with the body's nervous system. In this section you can learn how lupus can affect the three main areas of the nervous system: the Central Nervous System, the Peripheral Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System as well as a discussion on memory involvement and lupus headaches and treatments.
The Renal (Kidney) System
It is estimated that as many as 40 percent of all people with lupus, and as many as two-thirds of all children with lupus, will develop kidney complications that require medical evaluation and treatment. This section will explain how lupus can affect the kidneys, laboratory testing to asses if the health of your kidneys (urinalysis, blood tests and kidney biopsies), treatments and other lupus related kidney disorders.
Approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will develop some type of skin disease or cutaneous lupus. In this section you will learn about the forms of skin lupus (Discoid Lupus, Subacute Cutaneous Lupus and Acute Cutaneous Lupus), treatments for cutaneous lupus as well as other skin problems that can occur when you have lupus. Several other conditions that can also occur when you have lupus will also be discussed.
Oral Disease in Lupus
Approximately 95% of lupus patients suffer from some form of oral involvement. Disregarding the importance of proper dental care can be a painful and costly error that in some cases may actually be dangerous. This section discusses the oral and dental issues that can occur with lupus as well as a Lupus Guide to Dental.
Antiphospholipid Antibodies (APLS) were first discovered in people who had lupus, it was later learned there are many people who produce these antibodies who do not have systemic lupus. This section will discuss APLS, its impact on those with lupus and its treatment.
Blood is made up of many different parts, but those that are most often affected by lupus are the red blood cells, the white blood cells and the platelets. Those with lupus may experience anemia (low red cell count), Thromobocytopenia (low platelet count), Leukopenia and Neutropenia (low white cell count) and blood clots. Learn how this may impact you and the treatments used.
It is estimated that as many as 25% of pre-menopausal women with lupus may have osteopenia, or low bone mineral density (BMD), an early sign of osteoporosis. The use of corticosteroid medication often prescribed to treat SLE can trigger significant bone loss. In addition, pain and fatigue caused by the disease can result in inactivity, further increasing osteoporosis risk. A discussion on lupus and osteoporosis as well as some management strategies are discussed in this section.
Eye disease occurs in approximately 20 percent of patients with SLE. In some cases, eye problems are related to the inflammatory process of lupus itself. In other cases problems may be due to drug treatment (corticosteroids or antimalarials) or may be a separate problem (glaucoma or retinal detachment).
Check out our new interactive "Could you have lupus?" symptom checklist!
This interactive tool was designed to help you better understand the many ways that lupus can affect your body. Each highlighted section features a text box which provides a brief description of how lupus can damage a particular organ or system, from the brain to the blood vessels. You will also be able to go further into the Website for more detailed information. Included is a set of health questions for you to answer that will help your doctor know if you may be at risk for lupus.
Learn from the Experts
Lupus: Learn from the Experts is an education series from the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. The program consists of free educational telephone conference calls on a variety of topics designed to provide you with important information about living with lupus. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading lupus experts from the comfort and privacy of your home.
Sign up to receive LFA's free enewsletter
Stay in touch with the LFA's latest news, by signing up to receive this enewsletter.