This health video will explain about different Lupus symptoms and the treatments available to you to help you manage this condition.
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Valerie Leary Davis: I literally had to hold down to the walls to walk from my bedroom to the bathroom, I was very weak. Dr. Dean Edell: The symptoms are mysterious and easy to misdiagnose. Lupus is a disease that can strike at any age. 1.4 million Americans have it, 90% are women. Early diagnoses is the key to helping patients live with Lupus. Like detectors, armed with an array of disjointed facts. Female Speaker1: I also had like these sores in my mouth. Dr. Dean Edell: Scientists look for clues that can help solve the mystery of Lupus. Valerie Leary Davis: I can't stand up straight and walk. Dr. Dean Edell: Its symptoms mimic other less serious diseases. Camille Khan: I did develop swelling around my eyes and so my mom and I both thought, it was allergies. Dr. Dean Edell: Making it tricky to diagnose. Dr. Hugh McGrath, Jr.: One of the most disabling symptoms is actually the fatigue, that's seen in about 50% of patients. Dr. Dean Edell: Fatigue is just one symptom. People with Lupus often experience seizures, arthritis, skin and mouth lesions, heart damage and kidney failure. Dr. Robert Brodsky: The immune system instead of attacking foreign things like viruses and bacteria, starts to affect the patient's own tissues. Dr. Dean Edell: While Lupus is not a Cancer, cancer drugs like cyclophosphamide are helpful. Dr. Robert Brodsky: Traditionally, it's been given in what are called pulses, monthly pulses. Lower doses of the drug, every month for 6 months. Dr. Dean Edell: But Doctors at Johns Hopkins have found higher doses seem to be very effective. Dr. Robert Brodsky: What we found with the higher dose is that, it essentially reboots the immune system. Dr. Dean Edell: At age 15 Camille Khan was diagnosed with Lupus. When her kidneys failed, she decided to go through the new procedure. Camille Khan: I started to feel better mainly because my kidney function improved. Dr. Dean Edell: Now in her mid 20s, Camille is healthy. Camille Khan: I'm Lupus free and it's awesome! Dr. Dean Edell: Like Camille, Valerie Leary Davis is grateful she can do simple everyday tasks. Lupus also attacked her kidneys. Valerie Leary Davis: I lost all strength. Dr. Dean Edell: In her case Doctors used the transplant rejection drug, CellCept to hold the protein leak from her dysfunctional kidneys. Dr. Ellen Ginzler: It causes decreased auto anti-body production and then in turn decreased production of proteins which are part of the inflammation. Dr. Dean Edell: Dr. Ellen Ginzler says, CellCept is less toxic than the chemotherapy drugs and it seems to be effective in black patients who have higher rates of Lupus and often more sever symptoms. Valerie Leary Davis: I was a very sick lady, and it has changed my life. Dr. Dean Edell: Beverly Gibson had a visual reminder of the Lupus that attacked her body. Beverly Gibson: Right on my forehead and right in here and here on my face. Dr. Dean Edell: It caused lesions inside her mouth and on her face. Beverly Gibson: I felt like everybody was looking at me. Dr. Dean Edell: Sun exposure can trigger the lesions. Dr. Joseph Jorizzo: It doesn't have to be sun exposure like sitting on the beach, it can just be trips to the car that add up and produce this kind of problem. Dr. Dean Edell: Sunscreens, topical and oral medications are often not enough, now doctors are turning to the drug thalidomide. Joseph Jorizzo: It really has proven to be a life saver from the dermatologic standpoint. Dr. Dean Edell: Once used as a sleep aid, thalidomide was banned for causing birth defects. It has had few negative side effects in Lupus patients and one very positive one. Beverly Gibson: But I don't have those lesions or the sores anymore. Dr. Dean Edell: And while sunlight can cause trouble for Lupus patients, specialized light therapy can provide relief. Maricella Villareal: I'm just willing to try anything. Dr. Dean Edell: Maricella Villareal was taking 20 pills a day for Lupus. Maricella Villareal: I