Lupus is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology. It can affect multiple organ systems or be more limited.
There are a few broad subtypes of lupus including:
Systemic lupus erythematosus: This form of lupus involve various organ systems (example kidneys, joints, skin, brain/nervous system).
Skin limited lupus: Type of lupus which solely affects the skin.
Drug induced lupus: Lupus caused by various medications.
The presentation of lupus can vary from patient to patient and thus treatment and disease course are also variable.
Signs and symptoms can include:
- General symptoms such as fever, fatigue, or weight loss
- Malar or “butterfly” rash
- Other unexplained rashes
- Recurrent oral or nasal ulcers
- Scarring or patchy hair loss
- Joint pain and swelling
- Kidney disease
- Neurologic symptoms such as seizures or psychosis
- Recurrent miscarriages or blood clots
- Low blood counts
- Unexplained fluid in heart and/or lungs
When To See a Doctor
If you or one of your physicians is concerned you may have lupus, the next step would be evaluation by a rheumatologist who specializes in lupus care.
What to expect at your first appointment
The clinical aspect of our lupus center is located in our outpatient facility at the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) at The University of Chicago. At your first appointment we will review your history, symptoms, perform thorough physical exam, and review any pertinent outside records. Pending our assessment we may check a variety of blood test, XRays, and/or refer you to one of our multidisciplinary lupus specialist. We have an onsite laboratory which specializes in testing for a variety of autoimmune/rheumatic diseases. Additionally, XRays are done onsite as well and we have a team of musculoskeletal radiologist who are also specifically trained in evaluating for rheumatic conditions.
What happens if I am diagnosed with lupus
We will continue to work with you to provide longitudinal, high quality care. Depending on your disease manifestations/symptoms, we will recommend a personalized treatment plan. The treatment plan may include medications, lifestyle modifications, physical/occupational therapy, and/or referrals to other specialist.