Lupus may cause inflammation, swelling, pain and/or tissue damage in patients. The condition may also lead to kidney, heart, lung or nervous system problems later on. Treatment for lupus may depend on the severity of the condition, whether symptoms affect your daily life and whether you have more serious organ damage or problems.
Controlling Environmental Factors
This is usually the cheapest treatment option you're faced with. Maintain constant and effective communication with your physician, but take matters into your own hands by avoiding the sun, not smoking (quitting smoking will even save you money), getting regular exercise and eating right (avoiding fast foods and eating in may save you money as well). Adopting a healthy lifestyle may help to reduce symptoms of lupus and may lead to an overall improved quality of life.
If you have any rashes, apply a corticosteroid cream. Corticosteroid pills may also be prescribed to treat lupus. Talk to your doctor before using any corticosteroid cream. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used to treat joint pain, muscle pain and/or fever. Immunosuppressants may also be used if these options do not work. Antimalarial medications may also be prescribed for fatigue, joint pain, rash and lung inflammation. Talk to your health insurance carrier to determine if your insurance will cover these costs.
Surgery is not considered a treatment for lupus unless the condition has damaged the kidneys. Kidney transplants or kidney dialysis may be used instead of long-term medications that may cause side effects. Lupus may even be less severe during dialysis and following a kidney transplant, although the reasons for this are not clear.
Economic Impact on Patients
Medication to treat lupus may be very expensive. One study indicates that the average annual direct healthcare cost of patients is over $12,500. Combine this with an average of $8,500 in lost wages due to absenteeism resulting from lupus and the annual price tag reaches over $20,000. Talk to your health insurance provider and your doctor for more accurate estimates. Of course, these numbers may be highly variable; they are the result of a 2008 study reported on by the Lupus Foundation of America.