The treatment and control of Lupus has improved over the last decade, mainly due to earlier diagnosis and increased understanding of the disease. The disease, however, still remains a threat to life, if the kidney or the brain become areas of major inflammation. Patients with renal disease should be tested to identify and quantify the extent of the inflammation and damage in these areas. A common procedure is renal biopsy.
The medical treatment of Lupus is designed to target the body systems that are inflamed. If only joints and skin are involved, the treatment could be limited to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs and chloroquine derivatives. However, if lungs, heart, kidney or brain are involved, corticosteroids would become the basis of treatment. In addition, immuno-suppressive medications, such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide would be prescribed either orally or intravenously.
Management of one’s lifestyle is however most important for Lupus patients. They should never venture in the sun unprotected as the harsh UV light may activate their disease. They should maintain a balanced low-fat diet. They should avoid stressful situations, as these would limit dangerously the recovering capacity of the body. Their family and friends should be understanding and supportive. Indeed Lupus patients can become very weak and fatigued overnight without any obvious reason. They are not to be blamed if certain previous commitments cannot be kept.
However, in most patients, over time the body will adapt itself to the disease or vice versa, and the dreaded Lupus flares become less frequent. It is hoped that in the future, with improved monitoring facilities, this state can be more readily achieved.