Beth Gottlieb MD Ped Rheumatology wwwDrMDK.com
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Interviewer: There is a condition called lupus, what is lupus? Interviewee: Lupus is a kind of autoimmune disease that can affect anything in the body. Autoimmune diseases are essentially when your immune system instead of attacking things that are foreign like germs, bacteria, viruses and so on attacks yourself so there are lots of lots of autoimmune diseases. For example, fibroid disease is autoimmune, rheumatoid arthritis is autoimmune and systemic lupus erythematosus or we call it for short lupus of SLE is an autoimmune disease where your immune system can attack anything in the body at all. So everyone’s disease is a little bit different depending on what is affecting them. Interviewer: What would make a doctor or person suspicious that you have lupus? Interviewee: Often it comes just around puberty, sometimes a little bit younger but generally around puberty, it affects women more than men but certainly we have a lot of male patients also. But the symptoms could be very vague to begin with. They have fevers that might be persistent, a great deal of fatigue, mouth sores that sometimes are very tender and painful when they are eating or drinking, they can have joint pains and joint swelling and the fevers are persistent. So in the beginning someone might say “well, this seems like a virus”, but the fever continues and continues and then when the pediatrician or family doctor might do lab testing, they may find some abnormalities with blood cell counts or blood chemistries that affect the liver and so on. And so those are often the kinds of things that can be very widespread more than what a virus might do and longer than what a virus might do. Interviewee: Is there anything in particular you look at in terms of the skin? Interviewer: The skin can have lots of rashes and one of the very typical features is what we call a butterfly rash which is red areas around of the face. So the nose is like the body of the butterfly and then across the cheeks would be like the wings of the butterfly. You have to be careful because some people just got flash cheeks and there are other kinds of skin conditions that look like that so not everybody with pink cheeks has lupus, but it is definitely one of the signs that could indicate lupus.