Rheumatologist to speak about lupus Oct. 18

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

A variety of experts will shine the light on lupus Oct. 18 during the Lupus Awareness Month Medical Seminar.

The seminar will be conducted from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at North Mississippi Medical Center's Education Center. Dr. Robert McMurray, a rheumatologist at G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Veterans Administration Medical Center in Jackson, will be the featured speaker.

"We don't know what causes lupus," McMurray said. "It's an autoimmune system that can affect the joints, the skin and the kidneys."

For some reason, the immune system attacks itself, which can cause inflammation of various parts of the body, arthritis-like pain in the joints, fatigue, photosensitivity, anemia, low grade fever, hair loss and appetite loss.

"Lupus can be life threatening in 10 to 15 percent of the cases," McMurray said. "In about 50 percent of cases, the patient will have one attack and it will go away. In the other 50 percent, it becomes recurrent."

The illness is treated with a number of medications, including chemotherapy drugs, anti-inflammatory steroids and non-steroidal agents like ibuprofen, McMurray said.

The disease predominantly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50. Clinical studies report the illness affects about 1 in 700 women, McMurray said.

"It's likely someone you know or someone your friends know will have lupus," he said.

The lupus seminar will include the following sessions:

- 8:30 to 9 a.m. registration and welcome

- 9 to 9:30 a.m. a patient's perspective on lupus

- 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. Dr. Lyndon H. Perkins, a pulmonologist, will discuss sleep disorders

- 10:15 to 10:30 a.m. break

- 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. Dr. Joseph Chappell, an ophthalmologist, will discuss eye care for lupus patients

- 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Allen Cooley, a clinical psychologist, will discuss ways of handling the stress of a chronic illness

- 12:15 to 1 p.m. box lunch

- 1 to 1:45 p.m. Rita Beyer, an exercise instructor, will discuss exercise options

- 1:45 to 2 p.m. break

- 2 to 2:45 p.m. McMurray will discuss trends in lupus treatment and research.

There will be a question and answer period following each session. The seminar is free to the public.

Individuals may register by calling (800) 843-3375. For additional information, contact Sharon Smart with the Northeast Mississippi branch of the Lupus Foundation of America at (601) 534-0391.

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