Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects the body in serious ways if it is not treated properly.
When it appears in aging adults over the age of 65, it is known as late-onset lupus. Family caregivers with no experience or knowledge of the disease can feel very overwhelmed when their aging loved one is diagnosed with lupus.
It can be a big help to aging adults when their family caregiver is up to speed on all the things they need to successfully manage their disease. Here are some frequently asked questions about late-onset lupus and how it affects aging adults.
Q: How common is late-onset lupus in adults?
A: About one-fifth of newly diagnosed lupus cases appear in elderly adults but it can have a more severe impact on their health because at that age they are often battling other illnesses and age-related conditions. Unfortunately, so many of the symptoms are like other conditions common in seniors that lupus may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as something else.
Q: Why is late-onset lupus so serious?
A: Because it is an autoimmune disease, lupus makes the body’s immune system attack itself, specifically the organs and the tissues. Most affected are the brain, lungs, kidneys, joints, and skin. If the condition is not properly managed, it’s possible for seniors to suffer from a number of diseases such as lung disease, heart disease, and kidney disease. Osteoporosis and lung inflammation are also common. With such serious symptoms, many seniors can no longer live alone when they have lupus.
Q: What are the most serious symptoms of late-onset lupus?
A: When the disease is flaring up, seniors can experience a range of serious symptoms that interfere with their daily life. These include an itchy rash, headaches, joint stiffness, fever, chest pain, fatigue, overall pain, and a weakened immune system. They can be mild or so severe that they prevent an elderly person from accomplishing even the most basic tasks.
Q: How do doctors treat late-onset lupus in aging adults?
A: Lupus has no cure, but there have been many advances in managing the symptoms and treating the overall condition. Drugs such as anti-inflammatory medicines and topical creams can provide relief for many of the uncomfortable symptoms and avoiding triggers can keep flare-ups at bay. Common triggers include smoking, sun exposure, stress, and infections. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help seniors offset the most severe lupus symptoms.
Q: Can home care providers and family caregivers help seniors with lupus?
A: Living with lupus isn’t easy and it’s important that seniors have a lot of support. Having an in-home care provider to take on a lot of the burdens of daily life like cleaning, shopping and preparing meals relieves a lot of stress for seniors. Of course, this is in addition to the care given by family caregivers. They can also remind aging adults when to take their medicine and when to exercise.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Roswell, GA, please call the caring staff at Always Care Nursing Service today.
Call for Assistance: (404) 266-8773 or (800) 989-7828
Administrator of 3 Florida (Always Care) Home Health Agencies for over Fourteen years.
Always Care of Georgia since 2001
Served as a 1st Lt. In the US Army