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Your joints hurt. Your face broke out in a butterfly-like rash. And you’ve never been so relentlessly tired. It feels like your body has gone to war.

Actually, it might have. These symptoms can be the first signs of lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus). Having lupus means your body’s immune system starts to attack itself. This can cause all sorts of issues — hair loss, mouth sores and even heart, lung and kidney problems.

Learning you have this life-changing, chronic (long-term) disease might feel stressful. And it might leave you with many questions. But it’s important to understand that you don’t have to face it alone. When you come to Cleveland Clinic, our expert healthcare providers will diagnose and treat your lupus, focusing on you and your needs every step of the way.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Lupus Care?

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Skilled, collaborative providers:

At Cleveland Clinic, a rheumatologist (who specializes in the treatment of joints, muscles and bones) and a nephrologist (who specializes in the treatment of kidney conditions) work together as part of your care team. These experts may also work closely with other providers to ensure we’re treating all aspects of your condition. Meet our team.

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Comprehensive treatment:

Our healthcare providers treat and manage your lupus with advanced testing, the latest therapies and knowledge from across multiple Cleveland Clinic departments. We personalize all your care to your needs, health and goals — no matter how complex your condition.

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Innovation and research:

We’re one of the only U.S. academic medical centers that continually researches lupus using its own biobank. Our biorepository (a library of biological material) catalogs blood, urine and patient health data for these studies.

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National recognition:

U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named us a top hospital in the world.

Lupus Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic

Our Lupus Clinic includes some of the country’s leading lupus experts. Rheumatologists specializing in lupus work closely with other providers (subspecialists) in the fields of nephrology, dermatology (skin), neurology (brain), pulmonology (lungs), hematology (blood), cardiology (heart) and psychiatry (mental health).

Many of our lupus-related appointments are with people seeking a second opinion. We encourage second opinions at Cleveland Clinic, and our providers are here for you if you want one.

At your first visit, your healthcare provider will take the time to get to know you and learn more about your experience with lupus. You’ll talk about treatment options and what to expect. And they may refer you to subspecialists in other fields, depending on which areas of your body lupus affects. You may also undergo additional testing related to your diagnosis. 

Typically, your providers will order lab tests to look for low blood cell counts, anemia and other things that don’t look right. They might also do antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing. These tests looks for antibodies — proteins in your body that defend against disease — that could be a sign you have an autoimmune disease. People who have lupus usually test positive for ANAs.

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Lupus Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating lupus. Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, and they often affect multiple body systems — including the skin, joints and kidneys. So it’s important to work with a team of providers who are experts in treating lupus and managing your specific symptoms.

Your treatment at Cleveland Clinic depends on how lupus affects you and your body. However, providers initially prescribe medication for most people with lupus to help keep mild lupus-related symptoms under control. Treatment options include:

  • Steroid creams for treating rashes.
  • Oral medications for mild symptoms.
  • Immunosuppressant drugs to reduce the activity of the immune system (in serious cases).

Communication with your healthcare provider and routine care is important, especially if flare-ups happen. MyChart, our online health management tool, allows for easy, immediate communication between you and your provider.

Lupus and Pregnancy

If you have lupus, getting pregnant is generally safe. Just make sure a team of healthcare providers closely manages your pregnancy. New and safer treatments are available, and Cleveland Clinic’s team is ready to partner with you throughout your pregnancy.

Taking the Next Step

Finding out that your immune system is battling itself can be hard to hear. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. At Cleveland Clinic, we’ll support you through the diagnosis and treatment of your lupus. Together, we’ll build an open, trusting relationship with regular check-ins to give you the best outcome so you can start feeling like yourself again.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s lupus experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

Appointments

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s lupus experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

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Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.


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MyChart

Securely access personalized health information at any time, day or night.


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