Full-disclosure statement – I was provided a free copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Saying that lupus is a complicated illness is an understatement, to say the least. From getting a diagnosis to dealing with insurances, daily symptoms to explaining your condition to family and friends, there isn’t a single aspect of life that isn’t made crazier by lupus.
Written by Dr. Donald Thomas, who currently serves on an advisory council for the Lupus Foundation in the DC/MD/VA area, the title The Lupus Encyclopedia does not exaggerate – this book covers everything about lupus that a patient could ever need to know. And the detail it goes into is simply mind-boggling. Luckily, the book is structured to save your brain from exploding, starting with the bare-bones basics such as “what is an auto-immune disease?” and building up to topics such as navigating insurance and the skinny on alternative treatments. Each chapter ends with a summary of take-away points and there are tons of tables and diagrams to illustrate and re-illustrate the information. A nice sprinkling of personal stories from Dr. Thomas’ experiences breaks up all the medical jargon and keeps you reading on.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the detail and attention given to the complementary illnesses that many patients find themselves with – if you also suffer from Fibromyalgia, or Sjogren’s, Dr. Thomas’ book has you covered with sections on these and more. He includes a large Patient Resource section in the back with websites for any need, in the unlikely event you didn’t find enough information in the book itself. And the section on alternative/complementary treatments is a must-read. Dr. Thomas lists a huge array of treatments, citing which have had actual studies done and giving logical reasons for the ones he advises lupus patients to avoid. There are also sections on pregnancy, extremely detailed sections on lupus medications (including all the most recent developments) and more.
In my opinion, this is a book that even the most experience lupus patient will find useful and that any patient will refer to again and again. While it’s easy to be intimated by the book’s size (it’s door-stop thick), you can simply look up what you need to know in the moment and read the other sections at your own pace.