Lupus Specialist

Christi M. Kenyon, M.D. -  - Rheumatology

Christi M. Kenyon, M.D.

Rheumatology & Internal Medicine located in Seattle, WA

Do you have a facial rash that’s shaped like butterfly wings? More than 16,000 Americans are diagnosed with lupus every year. This autoimmune disease can occur at any time, without notice. Christi Kenyon, MD helps her patients in and around Seattle manage their symptoms and maintain their lifestyle. Call Dr. Kenyon’s practice today or request an appointment online.

Lupus Q & A

What is lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation in many parts of your body: your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. When suffering from an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks your tissues and organs.

Lupus is not contagious. You can’t "catch" lupus, nor "give" it to someone else.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

The symptoms depend on which part of your body lupus affects, and they can fluctuate from mild to severe. Most people experience episodes or “flare-ups” of their symptoms, meaning that their symptoms worsen for a time before disappearing for a while.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Rashes elsewhere on the body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, confusion and memory loss
  • Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
  • Facial rash resembling a butterfly that covers your cheeks and the bridge of your nose
  • Raynaud's phenomenon: your fingers and toes turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods

What causes lupus?

Lupus results from your immune system attacking your healthy tissue after encountering an external factor.

Although the cause of the disease is unknown, it's likely that lupus results from a combination of your genetics and your environment. If you have an inherited predisposition for the disease, you are more likely to experience a flare-up of symptoms.

Possible triggers include:

  • Exposure to sunlight, which may bring on lupus skin lesions or trigger an internal response
  • An infection, which can initiate lupus or cause you to suffer a relapse of symptoms
  • Certain types of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications, and antibiotics, which can trigger symptoms

Who is more at risk for lupus?

Although lupus can affect you regardless of your age, the disease typically occurs in people between the ages of 15 and 45. Lupus is most commonly found in women, as well as in African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans.

How can you treat lupus?

Dr. Kenyon can help determine which treatment plan is best for your symptoms and lifestyle. Here are some medications that Dr. Kenyon can use to help manage your condition:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Biologics
  • Rituximab (Rituxan)

Knowing which external factors might trigger an immune response can help you to avoid a flare-up in symptoms.

If you think you or a loved one has lupus, call Dr. Kenyon or request an appointment online to discuss your options.

Conditions & Treatments