Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause various symptoms, including fever, inflammation, and body aches. A variety of specialists can help people with lupus manage their condition.

Family doctors usually refer people with lupus to a rheumatologist. These specialists can help people prevent and manage lupus flare-ups and reduce the risk of developing other complications relating to this illness, such as organ damage.

However, depending on the symptoms someone with lupus develops, a wider selection of specialists can advise on managing the condition and dealing with specific symptoms when they occur.

This article reviews what specialists treat lupus, the symptoms this condition can cause, how healthcare professionals diagnose it, and the available treatment options.

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If a doctor suspects a person has lupus, they may refer them to a rheumatologist for further investigation. This healthcare professional specializes in rheumatic diseases and autoimmune or inflammatory disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatologists may work alongside other clinical immunologists who specialize in disorders affecting the immune system, including lupus.


Lupus can cause various symptoms, including:

Lupus can also cause inflammation in several body areas, leading to heart, lung, or kidney problems.

Learn more about lupus.

It can be challenging to diagnose lupus, as many of its symptoms are similar to other health conditions. There is no single test that a rheumatologist can use to diagnose the condition.

If a doctor suspects a person may have lupus, they will first review their family and medical history and perform several tests, including:

  • a complete physical exam and labs, looking for rashes and other symptoms of lupus
  • a skin or kidney biopsy to find any signs of autoimmune diseases or autoantibodies of lupus
  • an antinuclear antibody test looking for the presence of autoantibodies of lupus

Once the rheumatologist has the test results, they will use them to make a diagnosis and rule out other potential conditions. If they determine a person has lupus, they will recommend the appropriate treatment according to the symptoms.

The main goal of the treatment that a rheumatologist recommends is to prevent lupus flares, reduce the risk of organ damage and other complications, and treat lupus symptoms when they occur. These treatments may include a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.

A rheumatologist is not the only specialist who treats lupus. Family doctors may refer a person with the condition to other specialists who treat specific symptoms. This may include:

Currently, there is no cure for lupus. However, several medications can help manage symptoms and prevent flares. The treatment strategy depends on the needs of the person, the symptoms they experience, and their severity.

The medications for treating lupus aim to reduce immune system activity, inflammation, and swelling and prevent damage to organs and joints.

Some medications a doctor may prescribe for lupus include:

Lupus symptoms can change over time, so a person with this condition must attend regular check-ups with a doctor and remain vigilant to changes in symptoms and activity of their illness. This allows the doctor to adjust the treatment plan and dosage of the medications to keep the condition under control.

Dealing with lupus or other chronic diseases can be challenging and can significantly affect a person’s mental health, causing stress both at home and in the workplace. If someone develops mental health symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, they need to speak with a doctor. Doctors can refer them to a mental health specialist or a nearby counseling or support group. Many people find it valuable to speak with others dealing with a similar condition and share their experiences and feelings.

The Lupus Foundation of America provides information and support and organizes local events people can attend to connect with others who share similar experiences.

Lupus is an autoimmune chronic condition that can cause several symptoms, including swelling and joint pain. Currently, there is no cure for lupus. However, several medications can help manage symptoms, reducing the risk of flare-ups and damage to joints and internal organs.

Diagnosing lupus is challenging and may take time, as its symptoms are similar to many other health conditions. A rheumatologist may perform an antinuclear antibody test, a physical test, and a skin or kidney biopsy to diagnose the condition. The results of these tests, alongside a full review of a person’s medical and family history, can help diagnose lupus.