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Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)


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Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy tissue and organs. It causes swelling and affects areas throughout your body, including your joints, connective tissue (supports your skin and internal organs), blood, and blood vessels. It can affect your kidneys, skin, heart, brain, and other organs.

Each person’s symptoms are different, depending on the area of the body that’s affected. Symptoms can develop quickly or arise more slowly, they can be temporary or permanent, and they can range from mild to life threatening. Most people with lupus have periodic symptom flares — when symptoms worsen for a period of time and then improve or go away completely.

Although symptoms will vary, the most common signs of lupus include:

  • Blood disorders, such as anemia, low platelet or white blood cell counts, and blood clots
  • Butterfly-shaped rash over your cheeks and nose that looks like a sunburn
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Fatigue that doesn't go away with rest
  • Hair loss
  • Low-grade fever
  • Kidney problems
  • Memory problems and confusion
  • Painful, swollen joints 
  • Sensitivity to light, which can cause symptoms to get worse
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain with breathing, laughing, coughing, or sneezing

Many of the symptoms of lupus are shared by numerous other health problems, so it's important to work with someone who specializes in autoimmune diseases. Rheumatologists at University of Miami Health System have advanced experience diagnosing and treating lupus, so you can be confident you’ll receive the most effective care. With locations throughout South Florida, you can find a lupus specialist nearby. 

Why Choose UHealth?

The latest treatments for lupus and other rheumatic diseases. In addition to treating patients, our rheumatologists conduct research to find better approaches for managing the disease. That means you receive care from specialists on the leading edge of lupus care. You have access to some of today’s most promising therapies through clinical trials — including treatments you can’t find anywhere else nearby.

Comprehensive care from a team of specialists. Lupus can affect many areas of the body, so our rheumatologists work with doctors in a full range of medical specialties to give you comprehensive, coordinated care — such as hematologists (blood disorders), dermatologists, cardiologists, vascular specialists, neurologists, pulmonologists (lung diseases), nephrologists (kidney diseases), and others. 

Expert diagnosis and personalized attention. Treatment for lupus isn’t one size fits all. We develop a personalized treatment plan that’s designed to relieve your symptoms. We consider your lifestyle and changing needs to ensure you get the best possible results from treatment. 

Specialized care to improve your quality of life. Your team will educate you about lupus and help you learn how to prevent symptom flares through a nutritious diet, exercise, plenty of rest, and other healthy lifestyle habits. We make sure you have the support and resources you need to cope with lupus. You won’t face this alone.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.


  • Medicines

    Doctors use immunosuppressive medicines to stop the immune system from attacking healthy tissues, as well as other medicines (such as anticoagulants) to prevent complications:

    • Antimalarials: reduce antibody (an immune system protein) production to improve rashes, mouth ulcers, and joint pain in mild forms of lupus
    • Anticoagulants: prevent blood clots from forming
    • Corticosteroids: slow the body's immune response to relieve swelling and pain
    • Disease-modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): suppress the immune system broadly to prevent swelling
    • Genetically Engineered Biologics: a newer type of DMARD that targets specific immune functions
    • Monoclonal Antibodies: blocks your body's production of antibodies that mistakenly attack healthy tissue


  • Biopsy

    In some instances, doctors take a sample of tissue from an area that's affected by lupus to confirm a diagnosis and help determine the best course of treatment. For example, your doctor may take a sample of kidney tissue or skin that’s affected by a rash.

  • Lab Tests 

    Rheumatologists use a variety of tests to rule out other conditions and diagnose lupus, including: 

    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Urinalysis
    • Tests that look for swelling (erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein test) and antibodies associated with lupus (antinuclear antibodies or ANA test).

    Lab tests also help doctors determine which areas of your body are affected.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • Doctor's Healthcare Plan
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • Florida Community Care (FCC)
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care