So, if Dr. House is wrong this time and the diagnosis is Lupus, what treatments are available? First, what is Lupus? Lupus is a Rheumatic Disease that is by definition an autoimmune disorder similiar to Rheumatoid Arthritis. This means that the immune system, which is normally designed to protect the body begans to attack it instead.
Rheumatic Diseases are any type of condition that involves joint pain and inflammation. Among these are Arthritis, both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. The pain and inflammation from Arthritis can affect knees, wrists and parts of the spinal column.
In addtion, common symptoms of Arthritis are also joint stiffness and redness. The pain is caused by the fact that parts of the joint have been damaged either by wear and tear on the joint or by the fact that the joint is under attack from the body's own immune system as is the case in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.
However, Lupus is not limited to the joints. It also affects the skin, kidneys and other organs. Cases of Lupus can be mild or they can be severe enough to be fatal. Symptoms include joint pain, chest pain when breathing deep, fever, fatigue, hair loss, sensitivity to light, mouth sores, a butterfly shaped skin rash on the cheeks, swollen lymph nodes and general malaise or discomfort.
As the disease progresses and more parts of the body become affected, the patient will notice changes in the nervous system such as headaches, memory loss, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, personality disorders, vision problems, digestive disorders and more seriously, seizures, irregular heartbeats, blood in the urine, coughing up blood and strokes.
If your doctor suspects that you have the disease, he may order blood and urine tests, antibody tests, chest x-rays and kidney biopsys. Lupus.org states that at least 5 million people worldwide have Lupus. It seems to run in families and it also seems to favor women. Lupus also appears to affect more black women than white.
Plaquenil, a prescription drug used to treat Lupus carries some serious possible side effects. One such side effect is cardiomyopathy, or enlarged and diseased heart muscle. The medication is absolutely dangerous and possibly fatal if ingested by children even in small doses. Other side effects include irritability, nervousness, emotional changes, nightmares, psychosis, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, nerve deafness, convulsions and retina damage.
Alternative methods of treatment for RD have come to include many things. Widely accepted are better eating habits, regular and moderate exercise, getting plenty of rest, pacing yourself, physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy and acupunture.
Many experts have also come to recommend Glucosamine and TENS therapy (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to improve joint function and reduce pain. Some alternative methods to treat Lupus may be the hormone DHEA, Vitamin E and the herb known as astragalus.
These substances have been beneficial to some according to Prevention magazine. Almost every research source listed hydrotherapy as part of a beneficial treatment plan for all types of RD. This is because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on the weight-bearing joints that become inflammed and painful in Lupus patients.
It has been reported that Mark Twain suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis and when he toured Europe in 1891, he discovered a bath of spring water at Aix-les-Bains in south-eastern France. He remarked that the soothing therapy was so enjoyable that if he hadn't had the disease, he would have borrowed one simply to have an excuse to go in.
In addition, hydrotherapy carries no adverse side effects. It's important to choose the right spa to receive the most benefit from your hydrotherapy experience. Be sure to choose good quality equipment and construction. Look for things like perimeter insulation and flexible PVC pressure tubing for plumbing to cut the cost of operating your spa. Using a UV santizing system will cut down immensely the use of chemicals and maintenance time.
You may wish to ask your doctor if hydrotherapy is right for you.