✓ Lupus aka Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), is a medical condition that can be defined as a chronic inflammatory condition which affects any part of the human body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, and nervous system. Lupus is one of the most common autoimmune diseases where the tissues in the body are attacked by one’s own immune system.
✓ Lupus is an impulsiveall-time condition that characteristically affects young women between 18 and 40 years of age, but it can upset men and those older or younger. The ratio of women to men with lupus aged 15 to 40 is 12:1.
✓ In the initial days of diagnosing lupus, doctors recognized only the most severe cases and there were very limited treatments. It resulted in the survival rate being not very good. Today, doctors preferably recognize cases much earlier, and more mild cases, and there are now almost multiple better ways of managing the disease. Yet, there is still no complete cure for lupus, the survival rate is close to 90% 10 years after researching the diagnosis results.
✓ However, existing treatments have risks and side effects that, people with lupus sometimes have to accept between choosing those risks and the effects of their disease. In some instances, the sickness is mediocre and minimal treatment is needed.
✓ It's commonly believed that lupus is caused by variations in the immune system. The body's immune system customarily fights foreign bacteria and viruses; however, with lupus, the immune system may miscarry to recognize "self" substances and will make antibodies that attack the body's own tissue. This condition is referred to as autoimmunity.
✓ The thorough cause of lupus is still unidentified. Numerous factors are involved in the development of the disease, including heredity and environmental factors. It is documented that sunlight causes indications to flare up. Other indications include viral infections, the stress of illness, sometimes pregnancy, and certain medications. Because women are affected more compared to men, whereas, another theory puts forward a relationship with estrogens.
With lupus, symptoms may flare up every once in a while and then go away for a period of time. This symptom-free period is called remission.
Lupus may be mild or severe and may result in a range of symptoms such as:
1) Joint pain, swelling, and redness that comes and goes (the fingers and wrists are commonly affected)
2) Rashes, especially across the nose and cheeks - known as a "butterfly rash"
4) weight loss
5) chest pains due to inflammation of the heart and lungs (serositis)
6) coughing and breathing problems
7) sensitivity to sunlight, which can sometimes occur even with the use of sunblock
8) unexplained fatigue
9) Raynaud's phenomenon (fingers or toes turn blue on exposure to cold, then white, then red and warm as the blood flow returns to normal)
10) hair loss
12) disordered thinking or confusion
13) labile emotions (unsteady and uncontrolled emotions or mood changes)
Difficulties of lupus may involve inflammation that can upset other areas of the body (such as the kidneys, central nervous system, and heart). If difficulties occur, they generally appear during the first few years after the preliminary diagnosis.
Kidney inflammation as a result of lupus is common without symptoms at first, and many people may not even notice it until the problem is advanced. Once it evolves, there may be other marks such as bloating, ankle swelling, and irregular blood and urine tests. Eventually, kidney failure may develop.
Your doctor should carefully monitor you for signs of early kidney disease, such as protein and other abnormalities in the urine.
Lupus also usually accelerates atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), so your doctor may also monitor for risk issues like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. Your doctor may also counsel you to not smoke. It is very significant to get treatment for atherosclerosis.
An antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is the most significant test for lupus, as nearly all people with lupus will have antinuclear antibodies. However, ananalysis will not be based on ANA results alone, because many people have positive ANA tests without lupus, and it can also occur in other autoimmune diseases. A patient with a resulting positive ANA test who does not have any clinical signs or other lab irregularities has a 5% chance of emerging full-blown lupus in their lifetime.
The patient medical history and a physical examination results will play an important role in making the diagnosis. Other laboratory readings such as tests of kidney function, as well as joint X-rays and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, will help regulate the extent of the disease.
The usage of prescription to treat lupus depends on the harshness of the illness. In some cases, medication may not even be necessary.Commonly prescribed medications include:
1) Painkillers especially the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
2) Hydroxychloroquine blended with other medicines
3) Oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
4) Immunosuppressive agents viz, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate, azathioprine et al to control the activities of the immune system from attacking the body's organs and tissues
Though these medicines are recommended and helpful, sometimes even life-saving, they have possibly very serious side effects after consuming them. You should discuss the pros and cons carefully with your doctor. You may also want to converse about your medicines with health care professionals who are practiced in their use, with a rheumatologist.
1) Rheumatologists have experience and expertise in analyzing and handling lupus in its many forms. Consult them.
2) Pregnancy can sometimes initiate lupus or it may get worse if you already have lupus.If you develop lupus while pregnant, you should be under the care of both a Rheumatologist and an obstetrician or gynecologist.
3) Get plenty of rest and relaxation.
4) Learn stress management methods.
5) Receive regular medical and dental care.
6) Participate in regular moderate exercise.
7) Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
8) Do not smoke.
9) Maintain vitamin D levels
10) Don't take over-the-counter medications without the advice
11) If you're taking corticosteroids and other immune-suppressing medications, report any signs of infection to your doctor.
12) Avoid excessive exposure to the sunlight's ultraviolet rays - wear hats, sunglasses, and long-sleeved clothing and use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that protects against both ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) light.
13) Consider joining a support group to help cope with various aspects of the condition.
14) Inform yourself as much as possible about lupus.
Lupus is a complex disease and is considered a serious issue. Lupus, in some conditions, has extended for above 30 years. It is highly important to follow proper medications and prescriptions and most of all, the patient would need a strong and positive mind has to be built to fight this aggressive disease.