If you’re just starting to learn about lupus, you might be wondering “is lupus an autoimmune disease?” The answer is yes - lupus is an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which our body’s immune system attacks our own tissues and organs. And like many autoimmune diseases, lupus can be hard to diagnose. It may present differently in different people, and it can affect everything from our energy levels to our joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.
Why is Lupus an Autoimmune Disease?
Lupus is considered to be an autoimmune disease because it is a result of our immune system attacking our own healthy tissues and organs. As with other autoimmune diseases, anyone can develop lupus.
We know that certain genetic factors may predispose an individual to a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition like lupus, AND research has shown that our environment and lifestyle play a much bigger role than genetics in how our immune system actually functions. In the case of lupus, known environmental triggers include sunlight, infections, and certain prescription medications.
How is Lupus Diagnosed?
While it often takes years of living with symptoms to get diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, lupus can be even more challenging than most to diagnose.
There isn’t one single test that can identify if someone has lupus, and unlike other autoimmune diseases, there is no single antibody responsible, so you need to work with your doctor to document your symptoms and share your personal and family medical history. Your doctor may also do a full physical exam, looking for rashes or other signs of lupus. If lupus is suspected, they may order blood and urine tests, or even a skin or kidney biopsy to check your tissues for signs of autoimmune disease.
Depending on what your doctor finds, you may be diagnosed with one of four different types of lupus:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) - the most common form of lupus
- Cutaneous lupus, a type of lupus that is limited to the skin
- Drug-induced lupus, a lupus-like condition that is caused by prescription medications
- Neonatal lupus, a rare condition affecting infants of women who have lupus
How is Lupus Treated?
Because lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause different symptoms in different people, there are several treatment routes available. You’ll need to work with your doctors to find the combination of medication, diet, and lifestyle changes that best allows you to manage your symptoms and reach your health goals.
Because environment plays such a large role in how our immune system develops and functions, we know that making dietary, lifestyle, and environmental changes can be a powerful way to treat diseases that involve our immune system, including lupus and other autoimmune conditions.
To dive deeper into your personal environmental triggers, such as diet, medication triggers and lifestyle choices you can explore a program like Mymee, which through tracking and the support of a health coach, helps you to identify and remove your own personal triggers so you can regain control and start feeling like yourself again.
Lupus Success Stories with Mymee
Mymee has seen great success in a pilot lupus study in helping people better understand what's behind their lupus symptoms so they can take control of their autoimmunity and start feeling like themselves again.
"Ever since I was a kid, I always kind of had an issue with joint pain. But by the time I joined Mymee, things had gotten so bad that I was no longer working, no longer able to exercise, and I didn’t have the energy to do the things I really loved. It was like I was in a terrible cycle, the worse I felt, the more I gave up - which in turn contributed to even more fatigue and hopelessness."
Sherry's Lupus Success
Sherry reported that the quality of life improvements she achieved through Mymee, exceeded her expectations. Her pain steadily decreased, while her energy increased.