Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Women and Lupus | Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla AhlgrimmLupus is an autoimmune disease that affects women more often than men. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, young women of color between the ages of 15 and 45 are most likely to be affected by lupus.

Currently, there is no known cause of lupus. It is not a communicable disease and is not definitively linked to genetics. It is suspected that hormones trigger the disease since it is most common during childbearing years. Lupus is of major concern to women since it can increase the risk of other health conditions, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Women with lupus are at a higher risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.

There is no hard and fast list of symptoms associated with lupus, explains Marla Ahlgrimm. However common signs and symptoms include:

  • Joint pain, which may be accompanied with swelling
  • Muscle weakness, aches, and pains
  • Mysterious fevers
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Facial rashes
  • Unusual weight changes
  • Anemia
  • Kidney problems
  • Hair loss
  • Memory fog and confusion

Less common symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Mouth sores
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Stroke

Marla Ahlgrimm reports that lupus “comes and goes” in unpredictable cycles called flares. Different individuals have different triggers but many people find that excessive exposure to sun, fatigue, stress, infection, injury, and certain medications can exacerbate symptoms

Since lupus has so many different symptoms, it is difficult to diagnose, especially in children. Unfortunately, it is often mistaken for other conditions and cannot be diagnosed with a single test. Instead, a doctor must take into consideration medical history, family history of lupus or similar autoimmune diseases, and blood and urine tests. Marla Ahlgrimm reports that a kidney biopsy may also be necessary to confirm signs of an autoimmune disorder.

Lupus is treated with medication to reduce inflammation and calm the immune system. These include corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

Women can still become pregnant during a flare; babies born to women with the condition face the same risk of birth defects as babies born to healthy mothers.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

Comments are closed.