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Lupus is a complicated disease in which the immune system attacks, damages and destroys the body’s connective tissues and parts of its own DNA. It can effect many organ systems but especially the kidneys, joints, vasculature and brain (neuropsychiatric disorders). It occurs mainly in women of childbearing age and is more prevalent in African American and Asian women. But the presentation is so variant, and symptoms often so atypical, even for lupus, that many people go undiagnosed for years or decades, if they ever get the correct diagnosis at all.
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The mainstay of lupus disease treatment in the current medical model is drugs: NSAIDS, corticosteroids, antimalarials and immunosuppressives. There is also some exciting ongoing research involving other potential medications like monoclonal antibodies and antigen-specific immunotherapy. But all of these medications work by blocking some abnormal pathway of the disease process. The problem with this approach is that so many pathways are involved in the development and maintenance of lupus that just blocking one or a few of the pathways gives only limited benefit. Medications often block some normal biochemical pathways in the body as well, creating new problems and disease processes. As anybody who’s been on lupus medications can tell you, the side effects can be as bad as the disease.
The factors that lead to the body’s lack of tolerance to self is poorly understood but research over the last decade has shed new light on this disease. There is extensive research to tell us about the activating factors that lead to lupus, but these are not discussed or addressed in mainstream medicine. In this era of advanced biochemical knowledge and research, we have many more tools we can utilize to determine the cause of disease and develop a more thorough treatment plan for lupus, which is what I work on with each patient. For while we have heard from mainstream medicine that a cure doesn’t exist and that the outlook for lupus treatment is bleak, there are many choices for treatment that far exceed the expectations we currently have in treating lupus.
I personally overcame life threatening lupus and autoimmune disease and love helping other people to do the same.