Lupus Specialist

Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology

Rheumatologists located in Encinitas, CA

When you’re living with lupus, you want an experienced doctor with advanced training in rheumatology to help manage your condition. At Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology in Encinitas, California, Natalie MacLean, MD, provides innovative and compassionate care for men and women living with lupus and other autoimmune disorders. For more information on managing rheumatoid diseases such as lupus, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.

Lupus Q & A

What is lupus?

Lupus is a rheumatic disease that occurs when your immune system attacks your organs and tissues. This autoimmune disease can impact different areas of your body, including your:

  • Skin
  • Joints
  • Blood cells
  • Brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys

In most cases, the cause of this autoimmune system malfunction is unknown, but genetics can play a role. Additional lupus triggers include exposure to sunlight, developing an infection, or taking certain kinds of medication. Most people who develop lupus from medication find relief after they stop using these drugs.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Lupus causes a variety of symptoms that vary in severity depending on the individual, including:

  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on your cheeks, bridge of your nose, or other parts of your body
  • Skin lesions and sensitivity to the sun
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, fatigue, and fever
  • Memory loss or confusion

Some people with lupus also have Raynaud’s phenomenon. When you have this condition, your toes and fingers turn blue or white during stressful periods or when exposed to cold.

Lupus is more common in women, and most people receive a diagnosis between 15-45 years of age. Your chances of developing this condition are also higher if you’re Hispanic, African-American, or Asian-American.

How is lupus diagnosed and treated?

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose, but Dr. MacLean is a talented rheumatologist with advanced training in autoimmune diseases. To reach a lupus diagnosis, she closely reviews your symptoms, performs a comprehensive physical, and runs a combination of blood, urine, and digital imaging tests.

There isn’t a cure for lupus, but Dr. MacLean can help manage your condition and reduce your symptom flare-ups. After reaching a diagnosis, she creates a personalized approach for treatment based on your unique situation that might include:

  • Medications, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics
  • Recommendations to reduce your cardiovascular risks, like getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet
  • Lifestyle strategies to avoid flare-ups, like avoiding ultraviolet light and taking vitamin D and calcium supplements

Because lupus is a chronic condition, Dr. MacLean also recommends adopting stress relieving strategies and methods to support your mental health and reduce your risk of related mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety.

For more information on lupus, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.