Lupus- Understanding Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Lupus is an auto-immune disease that most often strikes women. It can affect virtually any part of the body- the brain, lungs, skin, or kidneys just to name a few. “Normally our immune system fights off infections but in lupus and other diseases, what happens is antibodies are made against self proteins and can really affect any part of the body, so that's what makes lupus such an important disease to find the root cause of.” "My system cannot distinguish good from bad, so everything fights its one big battle." "Symptoms and severity range greatly between individual patients and can sometimes be confused with other diseases or problems. Patients can experience joint inflammation, rash, fever, fatigue, weight loss, chest pain and more." "If you have symptoms that you are not quite sure where they are coming from, you can pursue it more and if the doctor is not sure, you can always seek a second opinion because it takes a long time for people to figure out what lupus is all about and what to look for." Though lupus can be life-threatening in some patients, the symptoms can often be kept at bay using a variety of different medications. “A lot of the drugs are borrowed from other diseases- cancer and other autoimmune diseases, so there are options now there didn't used to be.” MUSC is actively involved in helping to find new treatments through clinical trials. “It's been 50 years since there's been a drug approved for lupus, which is why we've been heavily involved in clinical trials to figure out what works and what's gonna improve the lives of patients with lupus” “Right now I'm participating in a bliss study which is a phase 3 trial of a medication that they would like lupus patients to take to help lessen symptoms associated with a flare up. it's working pretty well.” “One thing i love about our research group here is if were taking a disease as complex as lupus, its going to take a lot of people who are very diverse with ideas from different backgrounds all coming together to try to bring exciting research to the table and if we could help each other out that's really how we're going to get at the root cause of lupus.” To find out more about lupus or clinical trials, call 843-792-1414.