Why choose UCLA Health for lupus treatment?
The UCLA Health Lupus Program is made up of a comprehensive, multispecialty team dedicated to meeting the unique needs of patients with lupus. We offer full assessments for those with suspected lupus and state-of-the-art care for those with a lupus diagnosis. Our specialists are part of the UCLA Health rheumatology team, which consistently is ranked among the top 10 rheumatology programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
Highlights of our program include:
Team-based care: Our multispecialty team includes expert rheumatologists, dermatologists, hematologist-oncologists, nephrologists and ophthalmologists. This team approach allows us to create personalized, effective treatment plans for your needs and symptoms.
Specialized experts: You receive care from rheumatologists and other experts who specialize in lupus. These providers have years of experience diagnosing and treating lupus and are well-versed in its possible complications.
Research emphasis: UCLA Health physicians are active researchers as well as clinicians. We participate in research studies and clinical trials to bring you the latest treatments, often before they’re widely available. Our doctors are members of several lupus clinical trial consortiums, including the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN) and the Lupus Clinical Trials Consortium (LCTC).
Physician education: In addition to treating patients, we train residents, fellows and advanced practice providers in the early recognition and evaluation of lupus. This commitment to raising awareness aims to help more patients receive early intervention for this disease.
Commitment to equitable care: Our team is dedicated to identifying and addressing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in lupus care and outcomes. We conduct research in this area, continually looking for ways to deliver more equitable care. Our physicians also lead community-based interventions and educational programs.
What is lupus?
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus) is a complex autoimmune condition. In autoimmune diseases, the body mistakenly identifies healthy tissue as a foreign invader. This causes the body to attack healthy tissue.
Most people with lupus experience symptoms that worsen for a period, then lessen or go away altogether for a period. These episodes of worsening symptoms are called lupus flares. Some external factors, such as sun exposure or certain medications, can trigger a lupus flare.
Lupus can affect multiple organs, causing widespread inflammation throughout the body. It may affect the joints, blood vessels, skin, lungs, kidneys, heart or brain, causing symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Dry eyes
- Foamy or frothy urine
- Hair loss
- Headaches or confusion
- Joint pain
- Mouth ulcers
- Numbness or loss of color in the fingers or toes when exposed to cold temperatures
- Shortness of breath
- Skin rashes that appear after sun exposure and commonly occur over the cheeks and nose
Lupus treatments we offer
There’s no cure for lupus, but several treatments can effectively manage symptoms. Your personalized lupus treatment plan may include:
Lifestyle changes: Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting enough quality sleep may help manage lupus flares and decrease symptoms. A registered dietitian forms a personalized plan to help you achieve your nutrition goals. Avoiding direct sun exposure by wearing sunscreen and sun-protective clothing can also help decrease symptoms.
Medications: Our providers may prescribe medicines that decrease inflammation or suppress the immune system from attacking healthy tissues. Antimalarial drugs can also help control lupus flares in some patients.
Clinical trial treatments: Patients at UCLA Health may have access to new drugs or other treatments still being studied for lupus treatment. You can speak with your care team about potential clinical trial therapies for lupus.
Our specialized providers are experts in evaluating, diagnosing and treating lupus. We are active researchers as well as clinical providers, continually bringing you the latest leading-edge treatments.