2011 Lupus Update
Each year, May 10th has been declared World Lupus Day as a way of increasing attention to this debilitating disease. For their part in helping build awareness, the Division of Rheumatology will be hosting a medical symposium on Saturday, May 14, 2011 to be held at Froedtert Hospital beginning at 1:00pm. Dr. Mary Cronin, Professor of Medicine will speak on “SLE and Infections.”
Systemic Lupus Erythematous, commonly known as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the skin, joints, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The disease can have an unpredictable course, with flares (periods of illness) alternating with remission. Lupus affects more women than men and African Americans and Asians are affected more than any other races. There is no cure for lupus, but the current treatment options make it easier for patients to manage their symptoms. Antinuclear antibody is one of the mainstays of SLE testing. Other tests to determine lupus include complement system levels, electrolytes, renal function, liver enzymes and complete blood counts.
The most recent drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of lupus is Benlysta (belimumab). It is the first drug since Hydroxychloroquine in 1955 to be approved specifically for the treatment of lupus. There are several other medicines used to control the symptoms of lupus, however, they are “off label” and have FDA approval for different medical conditions.
The Lupus Foundation of America was established in 1977 to support research, education, advocacy and public awareness of Lupus. This year, the Wisconsin Chapter of the Lupus Foundation will be sponsoring the 10th annual Strides for Lupus walk on June 11th to help fund raising efforts.
The foundation also provides a website for patients and professionals wishing to learn more about the disease including interactive tools and checklists.
To register for the May 14th symposium, please call 414-443-6500. For more information about lupus and what is being done in your area or a nearby chapter, please go to the foundation’s website, www.lupus.org.
Written by staff writer Carla Clark, Administrative Assistant in the Division of Rheumatology