Living with Lupus

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and pain throughout the body. There’s no cure for lupus, but it can be managed and treated.

Lupus treatment goals

Manage symptoms
Lupus symptoms like muscle pain, fever, rashes, fatigue, hair loss and eye problems can interfere with daily life.
Reduce inflammation
The inflammation caused by lupus can affect many parts of the body, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
Prevent flares
Flares can be mild, or they can be serious enough to disrupt — or even threaten — your life.
Minimize organ damage
Lupus can cause major, irreversible damage to the kidneys, lungs and other organs.

Lupus flares can increase a person’s risk of organ damage.

Types of lupus treatment

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — used to reduce inflammation, pain and fever

Steroids — work quickly to lessen pain and inflammation by curbing overactive white blood cells

Antimalarials (drugs used to treat malaria) — control symptoms and flares by reducing proteins in the blood that attack healthy cells

B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) protein inhibitor — a type of drug known as a biologic that may reduce the number of abnormal B cells thought to be a problem for people with lupus

Immunosuppressives (including some chemotherapy drugs) — help stop your immune system from attacking your body’s healthy tissue

Lifestyle changes — staying out of the sun and lowering stress can help keep your symptoms under control

Complications related to lupus may need their own treatments, such as:

Antibiotics for infections

Statins for high cholesterol

Anticonvulsants for seizures

Vitamin D for kidney problems

Managing lupus

Some lifestyle changes can help keep your lupus under better control.

Protect yourself from the sun

Lower your stress

Get good sleep

Perform low-impact physical activity

Don’t smoke

Finding the right treatment

Lupus is a complicated illness that affects everyone differently. So, it’s important for scientists to keep learning about and developing treatments for lupus.

It’s also important for you to advocate for yourself. Talk to your healthcare provider about developing an individualized treatment plan to help you live your best life.

This educational resource was created with support from Novartis, a 2023 HealthyWomen Corporate Advisory Council member.