Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic pain and inflammation in your body. Although more than 5,000,000 women, men, and children have lupus globally, it’s still an often-misunderstood illness.
At Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists, our board-certified podiatrists understand that misconceptions about lupus can affect the way you feel about yourself and how you respond to your symptoms. That’s why we’re here to debunk the myths.
Below, we shed light on the top myths and facts about lupus.
Myth: Lupus is cancer
Fact: Lupus is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders develop when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. Lupus is not cancerous. This myth was born because lupus can be treated with chemotherapy. Low-dose methotrexate 一 a chemotherapy drug 一 can help manage lupus symptoms.
Other medications to treat lupus include antimalarials, steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), immunosuppressives, blood thinners, and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
Myth: There’s only one type of lupus
Fact: There are three types of lupus:
- Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE)
- Lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Drug-induced lupus
DLE typically affects your skin and can create lesions. SLE is the more common type of lupus, and it affects all tissues in your body, not just your skin.
Certain medications trigger drug-induced lupus. If you have this type of lupus, your symptoms tend to dissipate when you stop taking the medication.
Myth: You can catch lupus
Fact: Some of the lesions that lupus causes 一 including the telltale butterfly-shaped rash on your face 一 look contagious, but you can’t contract lupus from skin-to-skin contact.
Lupus results from a combination of genetic predispositions and triggers, such as sunlight, infections, or medications.
Myth: You can cure lupus with dietary changes
Fact: Although treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help to prevent flare-ups, there isn’t a cure for lupus. That means there isn’t a special diet that cures lupus.
But a well-balanced and nutrient-dense diet can support your immune system. Avoid eating too much sodium to control edema, and limit or avoid alcohol due to drug interactions.
Other lifestyle changes, such as practicing good sleep hygiene, avoiding the sun, and exercising can also help you manage your symptoms.
Myth: Lupus doesn’t affect your feet
Fact: Because lupus is an autoimmune disorder, it can affect any part of your body, including your feet. Lupus can cause inflammation, pain, and swelling in many different parts of your feet.
Lupus can contribute to such foot problems as:
- Toenail problems, including cracked nails
- Neuropathy, if lupus affects your nerves
- Ankle joint pain, if lupus affects your joint
- Raynaud’s disease, which causes pain, numbness, and tingling when lupus affects your blood vessels and nerves
- Slow-healing wounds
Here at Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists, we understand how profoundly lupus can affect your feet. We diagnose and treat wounds from grade 0 to grade 5 with a variety of cutting-edge treatments including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, wound debridement, and topical dressings.
If you need help addressing lupus-related foot problems or wounds, request an appointment at one of our Florida locations: Tamarac, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Coral Springs, or Boca Raton, Florida.