What is flare in lupus

Because lupus is a multi-symptom disease, it can take years to properly diagnose. Since lupus itself is a condition that can vary dramatically from one person to the next, it can also be difficult for everyone to agree on one definition for what it means to experience a lupus flare.

What is flare in lupus

This challenge is even more daunting since it is not uncommon for someone to experience flares without having measurable test results to prove it. This is not just a problem for those living with lupus, when they try to explain to others what they were feeling;  it is also a challenge for researchers in the medical community. If every country in the world or even every research lab had its own definition of a lupus flare, it would be very difficult for healthcare practitioners and researchers to compare notes much less come to consensus on the frequency and severity of flares and the possible effects of treatments.

Clinical research would stall. The results were published in a article in the journal,  Lupus. From this work, this definition was adopted. It must be considered clinically significant by the assessor and usually there would be at least consideration of a change or an increase in treatment. This is a rather clinical sounding definition, but that was exactly what was needed, and it includes both quantitative results of lab tests as well as the more qualitative opinions of the patient.

Beyond this definition, there is also a need to describe different levels of flare symptoms. So, flares can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. For example. Of course this begs the question, what do we call the periods of time, when those with lupus are not experiencing a flare? The times that lupus patients have few to no symptoms are commonly called remissions. Most lupus patients will have symptoms of muscle and joint pain as well as fatigue regularly, so what makes a flare different?

Here are some warning signs of a pending lupus flare. Keeping a daily symptom journal can be a helpful tool. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system, when activated, creates auto-antibodies that attack not only an invading virus, but will turn and continue to attack healthy cells and organs, thus causing inflammation. Therefore, anything that stimulates activity in the immune system can cause a lupus flare. From the pharmaceutical side, there are a growing number of drugs that are prescribed for the different manifestations and symptoms of lupus.

These, in turn, can have an effect on the experience of the lupus flare itself. The most common of these are the anti-malarial drugs — most often hydroxychloroquine Plaquenil   — and the corticosteroids, such as Prednisone. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can help with some symptoms of flares and the more aggressive therapies, such as immunosuppressants methotrexate, azathioprine and others and biologics, like Benlysta, can also have dramatic effects on flares as they attack the underlying issues of lupus.

Note:  It is very common for individuals with lupus, who are having no symptoms, to feel as though they are better and stop taking their  medications  without first consulting their healthcare practitioner.

What is flare in lupus

These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body. Some flares happen without symptoms. This is why it is important to see a trained lupus doctor who regularly monitors your health. Emotional stress — such as a divorce, death in the family, or other life complications — and anything that causes physical stress to the body — such as surgery, physical harm, pregnancy, or giving birth — are examples of triggers that can set off lupus or bring about a lupus flare.

Other known triggers can include infections, colds or viral illnesses, exhaustion, severe exposure to ultraviolet rays, or an injury. If you have lupus, and your work or home life requires high levels of energy, it is normal to feel exhausted. Not every bout of fatigue is a lupus flare. The best way to determine whether or not you are having a flare is to learn about lupus symptoms and triggers, track them carefully, and share them with  your doctor.

When a lupus flare occurs, many people will notice a return of the symptoms they experienced previously.

What is flare in lupus

Active disease is caused by inflammation in an organ or organ system. Keep the completed worksheet to use as a guide when you have a lupus flare. Whether due to hormonal changes or to the natural decrease in immunity in […].

If a lupus flare coincides with the fog, managing the flare may in turn manage the fog. Lupus UK suggests that if […]. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Skip to content.