A graduate of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Houston, Don Pferdehirt applies over 33 years of experience as a chemical engineer in his role as president of ChemOps Insights LLC in Spring, TX. ChemOps Insights LLC is a consulting firm that assists clients in the development, design, and operational aspects of chemical facilities. In addition to his professional pursuits, Don (Donald Lee) Pferdehirt has offered support to the Lupus Foundation of Pittsburgh.
Over five million people suffer from lupus worldwide, with 16,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US. The chronic autoimmune disease causes joint pain and fatigue and can affect multiple areas of the body including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. Lupus results when a person’s immune system becomes overactive, attacking healthy tissues.
While there is no cure for lupus, a rheumatologist will help patients develop an individualized treatment plan that will help them manage their symptoms. The plan will take into consideration a person’s age, symptoms, lifestyle, and overall health. Depending on which systems have been affected by the disease, additional specialists may need to be consulted.
Embracing a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and regular exercise can help lessen the symptoms of lupus. Most lupus patients also need to take medications to manage their symptoms. Some of the medications they may be prescribed include:
-Anti-inflammatories and over the counter pain relief can ease a patient’s pain and reduce some swelling.
-Corticosteroids are prescribed to relieve significant swelling.
-Antimalarials are used to enable smaller dosages of other medications. They are also prescribed to treat skin rashes, mouth ulcers, and joint pain.
-Anticoagulants help to prevent blood clots that can be common with lupus.
-Monoclonal antibodies, the first treatment developed specifically to treat lupus, disrupt the activation of B lymphocytes by interfering with BLyS, a protein required for B cell activity.
-A repository corticotropin injection is thought to help the body produce steroid hormones which can support healthy immune system function.