Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting multiple systems of the body. It is a very unpredictable disease with periods of flares and remissions. You will never know when you might get a flare-up and worsen the symptoms.
Although there is no definitive cure for lupus, the symptoms can be successfully managed with drugs and some lifestyle modifications. However, this is not an easy task, especially to find the best drug and dosages that will ease up your symptoms. It is a trial and error process, and therefore, will take some time. Even if you have a proper treatment plan, it might need some changes later on as the symptoms might change with time.
To receive the best treatment, you should partner up with your doctor and make decisions about the treatment together. You have to believe that you are receiving maximum care. This will help you to cope with the illness better.
You can always assess yourself and study how effectively the treatment works for you. The following steps will help you to check if your treatment is effective:
1. Know your symptoms and keep track of them.
Maintain a diary to record your old symptoms, new symptoms, and side effects from drugs. You can discuss these with your doctor during each visit. Knowing the symptoms and knowing what improves them or worsens them can help your doctor to assess the effectiveness of the treatment plan.
2. Know your laboratory test results.
Speak to your doctor regarding your lab results. Ask him/her to explain what the results mean, and if they show any signs of improvement, or if the results are what the doctor expected to see. Compare these results with the ones done before the treatment started.
If there is no improvement since the last time, your drugs may not be working right for you. Your doctor will change these drugs and review the changes on your next visit.
Reviewing your lab tests will also help your doctor to catch the complication at an early stage and start the treatment early. This will have a great impact on your life.
3. Set some aims and goals.
Speak to your doctor and know how long it will take to see the results. Evaluate your symptoms from time to time to see if there have been any improvements. If you feel that the treatment is not working for you, speak with your doctor first. Never stop taking your drugs. Even if you develop side effects, do not discontinue your drugs until you speak with your doctor.
If you doubt about the treatment you are receiving, always get a second opinion and even a third opinion. It is you who is fighting the disease, and it's your body. You deserve the best care and if you feel that you are not getting it, always get a second opinion.