Lupus is a chronic, complex and prevalent autoimmune disease, that effects more than 1. 5 million Americans. It is a disease that is often overlooked, misdiagnosed and misunderstood, lupus is a chronic condition that is long-term with periods of activity and then remission. Lupus is a disease that attacks your own body. The immune system is the body’s natural defense against disease. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissue and organs.
Lupus can affect almost any part of the ody, most often the kidneys, skin, joints heart, lungs, blood and the brain Some people with lupus experience serious life-threatening problems. But for most lupus can be controlled with medicines and lifestyle changes. The two most common types of lupus are Systemic Lupus Erythematosus(SLE) and Cutaneous Lupus. LUPUS In Systemic Lupus, the disease can affect many parts of the body- including the kidneys, brain or central nervous system, blood and blood vessels of the circulatory system, skin, lungs, heart and joints.
In Cutaneous Lupus, it can affect your skin which can cause different types of skin rashes. One of the most common type of skin lupus is called discoid lupus erythematous (DLE) and is identified by a rash that may appear on the face, neck, or scalp, and by hair loss. Exposure to sunlight or fluorescent light can cause a rash to appear or worsen. About 1 in 10 people with discoid lupus eventually develop systemic lupus, and about 3 in 10 people with systemic lupus also have discoid lupus rashes. In rare cases, certain prescription medicine can cause SLE symptoms.
Symptoms can appear even months, after starting the medicine but usually disappear sometime after the medicines are stopped. PAGE 3 The cause of Lupus has remained a mystery for researchers for many years being that the disease has so many different organs of the body that it can affect. You can’t catch lupus or give it to someone else. Ten percent of lupus patients have a first-degree, relative (siblings, parents, children) with lupus or second-degree relative ( aunt ,uncle, first cousin) with lupus. It is believed that people with lupus have a genetic pre-disposition and something in the environment triggers the onset of the disease.
External factors that are possible triggers, include ultraviolet rays, iruses, exhaustion, infection trauma, and stress. Researchers are also looking at the possible role that the male and female hormones may contribute to this disease. Females are at a greater risk, but lupus also occurs in males. Lupus can develop at any age but usually occurs among people between the ages of 15 and 45. Lupus is 2 to 3 times more prevalent in African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians and Native Americans than Caucasians, only about 1 in 5 people with lupus are children under age 20.
According to the Lupus Research Institute, lupus is a leading cause of kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease in women of hildbearing age. There is no single lab test that can determine if you have lupus. Many symptoms of lupus are very similar to those of other diseases and can come and go, which often cause people to be misdiagnosed when it comes to this disease. There are eleven criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology before you can be diagnosed with lupus. You have to have at least four or more of the criteria’s which include:
Malar rash-butterfly- shaped across cheeks and nose Photosensitivity- strong reaction to sunlight ? Mouth or nose ulcers Nonerosive arthritis-bones around joints do not get destroyed in 2 or more joints with swelling and tenderness Neurologic disorder-seizures and/or psychosis PAGE 4 Renal (Kidney) disorder-excessive protein in urine or cellular casts in urine Hematologic (blood) disorder-hemolytic, anemia, low white blood cell count or low platelet count Immunologic disorder-antibodies to double stranded DNA, antibodies to SM, or antibodies to Cardiolipin
Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA)- positive test in absence of drugs known to induce it There is no cure for lupus, however there are many treatments, early diagnoses and appropriate reatment plan can help keep the symptoms under control and lessen the chance of permanent damage to organs or tissue. Here are some of the basic symptoms of lupus, yet they mimic many other diseases that’s why lupus is often called the imitator disease.
Butterfly rash Monitoring of organs (kidneys, heart, central nervous system) is very important with this disease. Treatment will depend on the activity and extent of the disease. No two cases of lupus are alike and most people’s treatment will be different. Medicines used for lupus treatments PAGE 5 varies and researchers are vigilant in the search to find better medicines to treat this disease as well as a cure.
Here is a list of the most common medications used to treat lupus: ? Nsaids-anti-inflammatory drugs ? Antimalarial drugs-for arthritis or sun problems ? Corticosteroids-usually Prednisone ? Other immunosuppressive agents-to control the overactive immune system Biologics-an antibody that reduces the body ability to attack its own tissues There are also lifestyles changes that may help with lupus such as, getting plenty of rest, destressing, avoiding excessive sunlight, getting regular checkups, and asking questions when in doubt always ask your physician.
The outlook for people with lupus is getting better as researchers are making progress when it comes to developing ways to better identify and diagnose the disease as well as treat it and its potential complications. For the most part people with lupus can live long lives depending on the level of damage to the organs