Lupus services offered in Cranston, RI

Up to 200,000 Americans have lupus, a chronic but treatable autoimmune disease. At RI Rheumatology, in Cranston, Rhode Island, triple-board-certified rheumatologist and internal medicine physician Deepan Dalal MD, MPH, RhMSUS, and his team specialize in diagnosing and treating lupus. Combining prescription medication, healthy lifestyle changes, and regular checkups can keep your symptoms from worsening. Call RI Rheumatology to make an appointment or book online today.

What is lupus?

Lupus causes your immune system to attack your tissues and organs, resulting in joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. People of all ages get lupus, but it’s most common in girls and women ages 15-45.

Lupus affects everyone differently. For some people, it’s a mild annoyance. But for others, it causes severe side effects that require regular treatment.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Lupus symptoms include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Headaches
  • Skin lesions that worsen with sun exposure

You might develop a butterfly-shaped rash that covers the cheeks and bridge of your nose or somewhere else on your body.

How is lupus diagnosed?

Lupus affects everyone differently, and there’s not a single test that can confirm a diagnosis. The RI Rheumatology team orders several lab tests to gain insights into your health, including:

Complete blood count

A CBC measures the number of microscopic solids in your blood, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Low white blood cell and platelet levels are often side effects of lupus.

Kidney and liver assessment

Lupus damages your kidneys and liver over time. A lab assessment can determine how well your organs function.


As lupus damages your kidneys, it affects the consistency of your urine. Increased protein levels or red blood cells in your urine can indicate lupus.

Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test

An ANA test checks your blood for antinuclear antibodies –– proteins produced by your immune system. Most people with lupus test positive on ANA tests. If your results are positive, the RI Rheumatology team might recommend more specialized antibody testing.

Diagnostic imaging

If you have shortness of breath or chest pain, the team might order X-rays or an echocardiogram to check for inflammation in your heart or lungs.

How is lupus treated?

Treatment of lupus depends on the severity of your symptoms and the frequency of your flare-ups. The RI Rheumatology team might recommend:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antimalarial drugs to decrease lupus flares
  • Ultrasound-guided corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • Immunosuppressants

If your symptoms continue or worsen, you might benefit from biologics. Biologics are medications administered intravenously that slow the progression of lupus.

Call RI Rheumatology to explore the treatment options for lupus, or book your appointment online today.