Lupus is an auto-immune disease that effects millions of Americans. In this edition of Healthy Living, YNN's Marcie Fraser tells us it is often misdiagnosed.
"Low grade fever and I had a skin rash," said Marianne Gordon, a lupus patient.
As time past, Gordon's symptoms got worse.
"I couldn't walk, my feet and legs hurt so badly," she added.
Finally, her doctors diagnosed her with lupus.
"Everything that is going on to the lupus is the result of the body's immune system producing antibodies that are directed against parts of your own body," explained Dr. Lee Shapiro, a rheumatologist.
There are several symptoms that you should be aware of.
"Rash, especially with what's called photosensitive rash, which may appears hours or days after sun exposure, joints which can mimics rheumatoid arthritis perfectly," noted Dr. Shapiro.
In more rare cases, the disease can effect your central nervous system.
"Severe inflammation of the kidney, lymphrytis and inflammation in the central nervous system. And there are individuals with lupus that may be present with seizures or stroke like symptoms or confusion," added Dr. Shapiro.
Gordon said, "I had pericarditis which is inflammation around the heart."
Lupus often over lap with other conditions.
"Individuals with lupus may also sometimes have rheumatoid arthritis or muscle inflammation called myositis. The one that overlap the most commonly is sjogren's
syndrome," said Dr. Shapiro.
The disease is managed with medication.
"There is Benlysta which suppresses the activation of these B cells and another drug called Rituxan which is sometimes used for lupus which is a B cell depleting drug," he explained.
Gordon has learned how to manage the disease.
"You can live a normal life if you take care of yourself. Rest is the key component, you really have to rest," she noted.