SLE lupus throat
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Sore throats occur frequently in patients with lupus.
It’s suspected that local inflammation of the mucus membranes could be the cause. Frequently, a fever is also present. That makes it imperative to exclude an infection as the cause of the sore throat. Careful evaluation for strep and viral illness is important. Swollen lymph nodes can occur as a result of SLE or a concomitant infection.
Apthous mouth ulcers may also occur in patients who are flaring. These may magnify the pain of the sore throat.
Patients treated with steroids may have sore throats due to thrush- an overgrowth of Candida. This is treated with anti-fungal preparations such as Nystatin or Mycelex troches.
SLE patients treated with immunosuppressive drugs such as methotrexate or azathioprine can get a sore throat as a side effect of their medication.
Another problem is coronary artery disease. Occasionally, angina will present as throat pain. Patients with SLE and throat pain need a cardiac assessment. SLE is an increased risk factor for coronary disease, in part, because of the steorids used to treat the condition. Also, the chronic inflammation plays a role as well.
Patients with SLE are also at increased risk for the development of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis- an autoimmune thyroid condition. This often can cause sore throat pain.
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