Lupus disease

November 12, 2012

Lupus disease

Lupus is a disease of the autoimmune system affecting the skin, internal organs, joints, and circulatory systems. Some of the statistics concerning lupus disease include the following -

  • It is eight times more likely to affect women than men

  • The usual age of sufferer is between ten and fifty years of age

  • It appears to more common in those of African-American or Asian origin

  • It is sometimes, but not always hereditary

  • Some cases of lupus disease appear to be related to certain drugs

  • Many cases of the condition are idiopathic

  • Ongoing research seems to show lupus is linked to other medical conditions

  • The condition is systemic – it may affect any and all areas of the body

  • It may be caused by a viral infection

  • Exposure to sunlight

  • Any combination of two or more of the risk factors is thought to be sufficient to cause lupus to develop

Lupus disease

causes the defences of the body to turn against the body itself – the antibodies in the immune system will unnecessarily attack healthy cells. Simply put, the immune system of a lupus sufferer produces a great number of unnecessary antibodies that cause reactions in the body; these reactions then cause an inflammatory process to begin in the body.

Lupus disease is a dangerous condition due to the wide variation in symptoms – this may mean a delay in diagnosis resulting in damage to internal, vital organs

Symptoms

The symptoms of lupus disease are many and varied and may affect the whole body although the two major symptoms are generally recognised as persistent pain in the joints and muscles as well as extreme tiredness; other symptoms may include some of the following -

  • Arthritis in the hands

  • Rashes, lesions and painful, bruise like nodules on the skin

  • Excess protein in the urine – left untreated this may lead to renal failure and the need for dialysis

  • Mental impairment – even psychosis

  • Seizures

  • Headaches

  • Blood clots including pulmonary embolism

  • Chest pain, endocarditic, and myocarditis

  • Shortness of breath

  • Anaemia

  • Hair loss

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Pleurisy

Other facts about

lupus disease

The main trigger for lupus appears to be changes in hormonal activity and levels – childbirth is a frequent trigger for the disease as is puberty or the menopause, this explains why the disease affects more women than men.

Lupus patients frequently have family members with autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, thyroid malfunction, Reynaud’s disease, and scleroderma among others.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for lupus disease – this means that any treatment program must focus on alleviating the symptoms of the disease and improving the quality of life for the patient.

  • Anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed for arthritic pain

  • Topical steroid creams for any skin disorders

  • Ongoing monitoring of the condition by the medical professionals involved in care

  • Moderate exercise

  • Healthy diet

  • Avoidance of stress

Undiagnosed patients

The generalised nature of lupus disease symptoms means that many individuals simply ‘put up’ with the way they are feeling, believing that their condition is nothing more than the result of age, weight, work rate etc. A lack of firm diagnostic knowledge amongst the medical community also means lupus is not always diagnosed as quickly as it should be and needs to be in order to avoid permanent damage to the vital organs.

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