Lupus is a relatively rare inflammatory disease. In the US 1.5 million are currently living with the condition. It is an autoimmune disease that can affect various organs including the skin, joints, kidneys, and brain.
What are the causes of this disease?
Lupus is caused by the immune system, when it mistakenly attacks the organs in the body as if they were pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. This autoimmune disease causes a person’s body to mistakenly attack healthy tissue.
The causes of lupus disease are not yet known, but some studies suggest that external factors play a role in the development of the disease, such as genetic predisposition and the use of certain medications. For example, lupus can be triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light, drug allergies, viruses, or even strong emotions.
What are the different types of lupus?
This lupus is limited to an inflammation of the skin and does not involve any vital processes. It can be identified by the appearance of red or encrusted lesions. These spots are usually visible on the scalp, face, or neck.
Several organs are affected by this type of lupus, especially the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The patient usually starts with skin lupus and can progress to systemic lupus.
This type of lupus is rare and affects the babies of women with lupus. Newborns can be born with liver problems, rashes, or low blood cell counts. However, the symptoms should disappear naturally after a few months.
What are the symptoms of lupus?
The symptoms of lupus can appear suddenly or develop gradually. They can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. Most patients have mild symptoms that manifest themselves as flare-up and get worse for some time before everything returns to normal.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, any organ or system can be affected, so the symptoms can be many and varied. Among them are:
- Rash shaped like a butterfly on the cheeks and nose
- Hair Loss
- Low-grade fever
- Swelling in the hands and feet
- Joint pain or muscle swelling
- Swelling around the eyes
- Mouth sores
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Arrhythmia or heart failure
- A feeling of numbness when cold or stressed
- Problems with the kidneys
- Neuropsychiatric disorders
- Intensive fatigue
This chronic autoimmune disease mainly affects women, who make up 9 out of 10 diagnoses. This proportion is not so high in children. Studies show that the high incidence in women is due to estrogen production. This hormone is associated with the control of ovulation and the lymphocytes from which antibodies are formed.
What are the treatment options for lupus?
The aim of treatment is to control the symptoms of the disease, as there is currently no definitive cure for lupus. However, with the use of drugs it is possible to improve the patient’s quality of life. The treatment depends on the intensity and aggressiveness of the disease.
Usually lupus with mild symptoms can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis and pleurisy, sunscreen and topical steroids for skin lesions. Hydroxychloroquine and low-dose steroids are also used for skin symptoms.
In more severe cases of lupus, high doses of corticosteroids or drugs that reduce the body’s immune response are usually indicated.