- by Medihope Super Speciality Hospital
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- Sep 07 2017
Understanding Lupus-Facts and Basics
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system misunderstands the body's own tissues as foreign attackers and strikes them. Some people with lupus suffer only minor vexation. Others suffer remarkable lifelong disorder.
Lupus affects people of Asian, African or Native American descent 2 to 3 times as frequently as it affects whites. 9 out of 10 individuals with lupus are women. The disease generally strikes between age 15 and 44, although it can arise in older individuals.
There are 2 types of lupus:
Discoid lupus erythematosus or DLE
Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE
DLE doesn’t regularly affect significant internal organs but mainly affects skin that is exposed to sunlight. Discoid (circular) skin lesions often leave marks after healing of the wounds.
SLE is more severe: It affects the skin and other significant organs, and can cause a scaly, raised, butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and across the bridge of the nose and that can leave marks if not treated. SLE can also affect other parts of the skin anywhere else on the body.
Apart from the perceptible effects of systemic lupus, the disease may also inflame and/or harm the connective tissue in the muscles, joints and skin along with the membranes enclosing or within the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys. SLE can also cause kidney disorder. Brain involvement is scarce, but for some, lupus can cause depression, confusion, strokes and seizures.
Causes of Lupus
No single aspect is known to cause lupus. Studies suggest that a combination of genetic, environmental, hormonal, and immune system elements may be behind it. Environmental factors, varying from bacterial and viral infections to serious emotional stress or overexposure to sunlight, may play a role in evoking or stimulating the disease. Specific drugs, such as the blood pressure drug and the heart rhythm drug, may cause symptoms similar to lupus. High estrogen levels resulting from pregnancy may worsen lupus.
Symptoms of Lupus
The symptoms of lupus differ from one individual to another. Some individuals have hardly any symptoms, while some have many. To add on, there are many different symptoms of lupus because the disease can influence any part of the body.
Unexplained fever- more than 100 F
Achy joints or Arthralgia
Prolonged or extreme tiredness
Swollen joints -Arthritis
Pain in the chest when breathing deeply –pleurisy
Ankle swelling and accumulation of fluid
A butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose
Nose or mouth sores
Sensitivity to the sun and/or other light
Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress -Raynaud's phenomenon
What are the problems that people with lupus can have?
Many people with active lupus feel sick in general and complain of weight loss, fever and fatigue. People with lupus also develop certain problems when the immune system strikes a particular organ or part in the body.
Diagnoses of Lupus
Lupus is diagnosed when a person has various characteristics of the disease (including symptoms, blood test abnormalities and findings on examination).
Treatment of Lupus
The kind of lupus treatment prescribed will depend on many factors, including the age of the person, type of drugs he or she is taking, medical history, overall health location and severity of disease.
Because lupus is a condition that is not always predictable and can change over time, a serious part of good care includes periodic visits with an accessible and knowledgeable doctor, such as a rheumatologist.
Some people with moderate features of the disease do not need treatment, while people with serious involvement (such as complications of the kidney) may need powerful medications.
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