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Lupus – Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Lupus – Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any tissue in the body. Because of the variety of tissues that can be affected, the symptoms are broad and vague and often mimic other conditions meaning diagnosis often takes quite a while. There are some symptoms that are more specific to lupus that should warrant a lupus work up- these include:

  • Butterfly rash – redness that goes over both cheeks and the nose, but is clear in the folds between the lips, nose and cheeks (the nasolabial folds)
  • Symptoms that are worse with sun exposure

More non-specific lupus symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fevers
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Breathlessness or difficulty getting a full breath
  • Chest pain
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Poor memory and brain fog


  • General screening tests for the functioning of tissues like the liver, kidneys, heart and muscles are part of screening and managing lupus
  • One of the important tests is for ANA (Anti-Nuclear Antibodies) and the various subsets of more specific antibody testing (eg. Anti-dsDNA, etc)
  • Imaging such as ultrasound and CT scans are used to assess for inflammation in tissues throughout the body

Typically treatment of lupus involves suppressing the immune reaction with various medications – this can be an important part of controlling the disease, especially during a flare-up. However there are long-term consequences of using these medications that need to be managed. Working integratively to reduce the autoimmune reaction and inflammation will reduce the need for long-term suppressive medications. Factors such as diet, lifestyle, nutrient optimization and hormone balancing are important considerations in supporting vitality and living well with this disease.