Lupus is often associated with women, so many believe that men can’t get this autoimmune disease. Unfortunately, this common misconception can lead many men to suffer without seeking appropriate medical attention.
At Arthritis and Osteoporosis Treatment Center, we’re dedicated to the compassionate treatment of all patients. That’s why this Men’s Health Month, it’s important for us to raise awareness about men’s lupus experiences. Take the time to learn the symptoms, available treatment options, and the importance of seeing your doctor regularly.
What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect anyone, regardless of gender. However, lupus symptoms in men can differ from those typically seen in women. Men may experience symptoms such as:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin rashes (specifically on the cheeks/nose)
- Fever and flu-like symptoms
- Kidney problems
- Shortness of breath
- Heart complications
Why Is Lupus in Men Less Common?
Although men can develop lupus, the condition is far less common among them compared to women. The exact reasons behind this disparity are still being studied, but one potential factor is hormonal differences.
Based on various animal studies, estrogen is thought to play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. That may explain the higher incidence in women. Other environmental triggers like infections or medications can also play a role, impacting individuals differently based on gender.
How Long Do Lupus Flares Last?
Patients who suffer from lupus experience worsened symptoms during periods known as flare-ups, especially common during summer months. Some individuals may experience short, mild flares lasting several days, while others may have more prolonged and severe episodes, lasting up to several weeks.
No matter the duration, It’s important for individuals with lupus to work closely with their rheumatologist or healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan and learn strategies to manage flares effectively.
Lupus and Summer Weather
What many people don’t realize about lupus is that there are certain “triggers” that can cause symptoms to flare up. One of the most common triggers of lupus symptoms is exposure to sun and heat.
Unfortunately, in a climate like we experience here in Jacksonville, Florida, this can mean very unpleasant summers for those with lupus. Sun and heat exposure can cause symptoms to flare up because when UVA or UVB rays hit the skin, inflammation in the cells naturally occurs and often sets off a chain reaction of other symptoms. Studies have found that “75 percent of patients with systemic lupus and 90 percent of discoid lupus patients will suffer flare-ups of symptoms from even brief exposures to sun or heat.”
Lupus Treatment Options
Unfortunately, lupus is a chronic condition with no known cure. However, there are several treatment options available to manage painful symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Medications like hydroxychloroquine and other disease-modifying antirheumatic agents (DMARDs), as well as biologics like Benlysta and Saphnelo, can help control inflammation and regulate the immune system.
Living with lupus can be difficult, but lifestyle changes like stress management and regular exercise can help manage symptoms. Avoid flare-up triggers like excessive sun exposure and maintain a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fatty fish to reduce painful symptoms.
Take care of your mental health with supportive therapies like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling. This can be beneficial in managing pain, improving functionality, and addressing emotional well-being.
What Kind of Doctor Treats Lupus?
The diagnosis and management of lupus typically involve a rheumatologist, a type of doctor who specializes in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Rheumatologists like our providers at AOTC have extensive training in diagnosis and treatment of lupus. They can provide the most appropriate care for individuals with this autoimmune disease.
Schedule an Appointment at Our Orange Park Office in Jacksonville, FL
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of lupus, take our “Do I Have Lupus” quiz and visit your doctor immediately. At Arthritis and Osteoporosis Treatment Center of Jacksonville, Florida, we provide personalized care for individuals with lupus from diagnosis to treatment. Contact us to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward managing your health today.