What are Lupus and Collagen Vascular Disease?
Lupus is a collagen vascular disease, occurring as the immune system attacks the tissues and organs in the body. As an inflammatory disease, lupus may last over six weeks, often persisting for years. Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus.
Collagen vascular diseases like lupus and Sjögren Syndrome affect multiple bodily systems in addition to joints, skin, kidneys, blood and blood vessels, cells, and also the brain, heart, and lungs.
Care providers may experience difficulty diagnosing lupus due to varied symptoms between patients. The symptoms of the collagen vascular disease may additionally vary over time. They will often mimic symptoms of other disorders. For this reason, a singular analysis cannot diagnose lupus. Testing for connective tissue disorders like lupus typically requires blood testing in combination with a urine test. A specialist may additionally employ sign and symptoms analyzation combined with a physical examination.
Mixed Connective Tissue Diseases
Some physicians will utilize the nomenclature “mixed connective tissue disease” to describe a specific derivative disease that displays similar features to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The medical community also calls this group of conditions overlap diseases.
Overlap diseases display signs and symptoms comprised of a combination of diseases that includes lupus, as well as rheumatoid disease (arthritis), and temporal arteritis.
In mixed connective tissue disease, reflective diseases do not reveal themselves all at once. Instead, their symptoms will occur sequentially throughout a number of years. This adds further difficult for specialists as they try to diagnose the specific disorder.
Early signs and symptoms relating to mixed connective tissue disease frequently cause inflammation and afflict the hands. Symptoms include fingers swelling like sausages while the fingertips turn white and numb. A diagnosing physician might mistake these symptoms for the more common condition rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for mixed connective tissue disease. However, care providers manage to treat and minimize a variety of symptoms utilizing medication.
Complete Blood Count
A blood count examination aims to measure the body’s amount of white blood cells, platelets, as well as hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found within red blood cells. The results of this testing may indicate that a patient suffers from anemia. This is a common condition that is derivative of lupus. Low white blood cell or platelet counts also may reflect a positive lupus diagnosis.
Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test
A positive diagnosis that confirms the presence of antinuclear antibodies indicated a simulated immune system. Many patients that suffer from lupus display positive ANA results. However, positive ANA results do not necessarily indicate a positive lupus diagnosis. If you test positive for ANA, this simply recommends further, more specific antibody testing.
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Symptoms of Lupus Include
- Joint Pain
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Pains
- Dry Mouth
- Dry Eyes
- Fatigue and Fever
- Skin Lesions and/or a Butterfly-Shaped Rash on the Face
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Factors that Trigger or Worsen Lupus Include
If a specialist suspects lupus is affecting your lungs or heart, they may suggest:
- Chest X-ray – Chest imaging may reveal abnormal shadows suggesting the presence of fluid or inflammation in your lungs.
- Echocardiogram – This test utilizes sound waves to produce real-time images of your beating heart. The examination can check for problems with the valves, and other portions of the heart.
Determining proper treatment courses for diseases like lupus heavily depend on your specific exhibited symptoms, in addition to their degree of severity. Discovering effective treatment requires symptom analysis, as well as risk-benefit analyses by a medical professional. As signs and symptoms flare or subside, you must realize that medication and dosage adaptation remains necessary as well.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Specialists can treat pain, swelling, fever, and other derivative lupus systems by employing over-the-counter NSAIDs. This treatment regimen includes naproxen sodium (Aleve), as well as Ibuprofen. You can also acquire stronger NSAIDs with a prescription from a professional.
NSAID side effects may include stomach bleeding, kidney problems, and increased risk for potential heart complications.
An immunosuppressant is a drug specifically designed to suppress immune system function. These may help in serious lupus cases. Examples of immunosuppressants include azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), mycophenolate (CellCept), leflunomide (Arava), and methotrexate (Trexall).
Potential side effects of these drugs may include increased risk of infection, liver damage, as well as infertility and cancer. A new medication called belimumab (Benlysta) is also able to reduce lupus symptoms in some patients. Side effects of belimumab include nausea, diarrhea, and fever.
Lupus Treatment in Miami by a Professional Dermatologist
Despite no existing lupus cure, if you believe that you suffer from related symptoms, resources exist to help with your condition. Dr. Deborah Longwill and the Miami Center for Dermatology can provide you with a comprehensive lupus treatment in Miami designed to minimize symptoms and effects.
Our dermatologist has cultivated a long-standing, loyal patient following by investing necessary time learning about her patients’ lifestyle habits. She additionally acquires information concerning patient family histories. This enables Dr. Longwill to offer patients optimal advice.
Her procedural approach involves leaning on osteopathic methods, analyzing patients as entire individuals comprised of multiple systems working together.
You can find additional information as well as order several of Dr. Longwill’s Skincare products in her online shop.
Here at the Miami Center for Dermatology, your comfort and satisfaction are our main concern. For this reason, we provide our clinic as a resource for lupus treatment in Miami. Call today to schedule an appointment at (305) 279-7546 or Click Here to Contact Us Today!