Some people with
lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) develop
complications with internal organs, such as the kidney, heart or lungs.
Living with lupus
Most people with lupus are able to
continue their usual daily activities. You may find that you need to cut back
on your activity level, get help with child care, or change the way you work
because of fatigue, joint pain, or other symptoms. You may find that you have
to take time off from daily activities entirely.
Landscaper/designer Eduardo Xol of the popular TV show Extreme Makeover:
Home Edition is all about balance: finding it for his own life and bringing
it to the people he designs for.
His second book, Extreme Entertaining Made Simple, in bookstores Nov.
4, communicates this reassuring philosophy. “I design for all the five senses,”
Xol says, “to create a home that helps provide relaxation and balance in your
On Extreme Makeover, Xol often designs for families with health
Most people with
lupus can expect to live a normal or near-normal life span. This depends on how
severe your disease is, whether it affects vital organs (such as the kidneys)
and how severely these organs are affected.
Medicines used to
treat moderate to severe lupus have side effects. It can be difficult to tell
what problems are part of the natural course of the disease and what problems
are due to effects of medicines used to control the disease.
the past, lupus was not well understood. People who had lupus died younger,
usually of problems with vital organs. Now that the disease can be treated more
successfully, life expectancy with lupus has increased significantly. Up to 90%
of people with lupus live at least 5 years after diagnosis. Nearly 70% live at
least 20 years after diagnosis.1
Hormones such as
prolactin are sometimes used for hormone replacement
therapy, birth control, and as part of fertility treatments. But studies show
that women taking hormones do not have an increased risk of developing lupus or
of having symptom flares.2, 3
Lupus doesn't generally affect a woman's ability
to conceive. However, if you are having a lupus flare or are taking
corticosteroid medicines, you may have irregular menstrual cycles, making it
difficult to plan a pregnancy.
It is not clear whether women have
more lupus flares during pregnancy. But there does seem to be an increased risk
to the developing fetus.4 The risks are decreased if
the woman avoids becoming pregnant during a period of active lupus activity. So
it's a good idea for women with lupus to use effective birth control when lupus
is active.5 If you plan to have a baby or are already
pregnant, it is very important that you and your health professional discuss
how lupus may affect your pregnancy.
affect many people with lupus.
These problems usually don't cause any symptoms, although some people may
notice swelling in their legs or ankles (due to fluid retention) that they have
not had in the past. The first sign of kidney problems is often abnormal
urinalysis findings, such as protein, blood, or white
blood cells in the urine or granular or red cell casts (clumps of red blood
cells or kidney cells) in the urine.