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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Arthritis Northwest PLLC -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Northwest PLLC

Rheumatology located in Spokane, WA & Spokane Valley, WA

Systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common form of lupus, affects as many as 1.5 million Americans. The compassionate lupus specialists at Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington, have considerable experience treating this challenging disease successfully. Book your appointment or schedule a consultation by calling the office today. Or, visit us online.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Q & A

What is systemic lupus erythematosus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus, or simply lupus, is a chronic disease that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in your body’s joints, skin, blood vessels, and internal organs.

This attack leads to widespread inflammation and severe tissue damage. Lupus occurs in flare-ups. It's common to have periods of remission with no symptoms or mild symptoms, followed by times of significant physical issues.

Lupus is especially common among women, who are 10 times as likely to get the disease as men.

What are the symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus?

Common issues with lupus include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Skin rashes
  • Fever
  • Unintended weight loss

Depending on the organs affected, you may experience problems like chest pain, neurological issues, and blood in your urine. Up to 18% of people with lupus develop another autoimmune condition, Sjögren's syndrome, which features dry eyes and mouth.

Lupus flare-ups can be mild, moderate, or severe. They may occur fairly frequently or be months or even years apart.

In the most serious cases, lupus could be life-threatening, so it's important that you respond to symptoms and get expert medical care at Arthritis Northwest PLLC.

How is systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed?

Lupus diagnosis can be a complicated process. There’s no single test to diagnose this disease, but Arthritis Northwest PLLC specializes in autoimmune illnesses and can successfully identify the disease and help you manage it. 

If your symptoms indicate lupus, your provider might order an antinuclear antibody (ANA) test, the main blood test for lupus. People who have lupus always have positive ANA tests, but other diseases can also trigger positive ANA tests. 

After a positive ANA test, additional blood tests can check for certain antibodies found in people with lupus.

How is systemic lupus erythematosus treated?

Lupus isn't curable, but it’s manageable. Treatment can suppress your overactive immune system, bring on long-lasting remission, and prevent severe organ damage. 

With many treatment approaches available, Arthritis Northwest PLLC can prescribe a lupus management plan customized for your needs. Common treatment approaches include:


The American College of Rheumatology recommends hydroxychloroquine for all people with lupus. Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial medication that also helps with symptoms such as arthritis, rashes, mouth sores, and fatigue. It can also prevent flare-ups.


If you have severe lupus complications, including kidney, lung, or nervous system issues, you may need high-dose corticosteroids like prednisone to reduce inflammation.


If you have severe lupus symptoms, these drugs can calm your overactive immune system.


Infusions of certain biologics target only certain cells rather than suppressing your whole immune system. Arthritis Northwest PLLC has an on-site infusion room where you can have treatments comfortably.

Learn more about lupus treatment by calling Arthritis Northwest PLLC, and book an appointment today. Or, visit us online.