Imagine a health condition that disguises itself as many other diseases, all while attacking your own body — that describes lupus. Lupus isn’t common, only affecting 1.5 million people in the United States, but each of these cases can be very different from the next. To sort through the myriad of symptoms, you need a rheumatologist such as David Shaskey, MD, at Millcreek Rheumatology, for effective diagnosis and treatment. If you’re in Salt Lake City, Utah, or the surrounding area, and you want to learn more about lupus, call or book an appointment online.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system attacks your tissue and organs seemingly indiscriminately. The resulting inflammation can affect a number of your body’s systems, including your:
Lupus is far more common in women — 90% of those with the disease are female, and it often comes on between the ages of 15 and 45.
The primary difficulty with lupus is that it’s often mistaken for other health issues because of the wide range of symptoms. In fact, it’s earned the name “the great imitator” since it presents itself in so many different ways, often leading doctors down the wrong road when it comes to diagnosis.
One of the big signs of lupus is a rash that develops across your nose and cheeks, called a butterfly rash because of its butterfly shape. But, many people with lupus never develop the telltale rash, and rather develop other symptoms, which include:
Medical researchers believe that lupus is caused by genetics and the environment. Its appearance is often triggered by the following:
During your appointment with Dr. Shaskey, he reviews both your visible symptoms and any symptoms that aren’t readily visible. The doctor also performs several tests on your blood and urine to check for particular markers since there’s no definitive test for lupus.
Dr. Shaskey may also order diagnostic imaging to take a closer look at what’s going on inside your body.
Once your tests point conclusively at lupus, Dr. Shaskey develops a treatment plan with your symptoms and needs in mind. He may turn to:
Lupus can be a moving target, so Dr. Shaskey may adjust your medications as you go, with the main goal of relieving any symptoms that crop up.
To learn more about your treatment options, call Millcreek Rheumatology, or schedule an appointment using the easy online booking tool.