Lupus – what is it?
When your immune system attacks your organs and tissues (autoimmune disease), you develop it. Inflammation can affect many body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, the brain, heart, and lungs.
Often, the symptoms are similar to those of other ailments, making diagnosis difficult. In many, but not all cases of lupus, the most characteristic sign is a rash across both cheeks that looks like the wings of a butterfly.
Infections, certain drugs, or even sunlight may trigger lupus in some people who are born with a tendency to develop it. Symptoms can be controlled with treatments, but there is no cure.
Lupus has several types, but what are they?
There are various types of lupus. A common form is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. There are also other types such as:
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus:
Patients may experience sun sensitivity and rashes as a result of cutaneous erythematosus. Additionally, it can lead to hair loss.
This is caused by the use of certain medications. The symptoms of drug-induced are similar to those of systemic erythematosus, but they are often temporary. This subsides after stopping the medications that cause it.
A rare form of neonatal effects newborns. A child born with a neonatal has antibodies that she has received from her mother – who may have been suffering from lupus during pregnancy or later in life. It does not affect every child born to a mother with the disease.
Symptoms and signs
The most common symptoms of lupus (same for either men or women) are:
- Tired all of the time (extreme fatigue)
- Joint pain or swelling
- Swelling around the eyes, hands, or feet
- A headache
- Low fevers
- Sunlight or fluorescent light sensitivity
- Feeling of chest pain when you breathe deeply
- Patients often have problems with their hair and skin, such as:
- There is a butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose
- There is a hair loss
- Mouth or nose sores
- A person’s fingers and toes become white or blue and feel numb when they are cold or stressed (Raynaud’s Disease).
Can anyone develop it?
- Anyone can develop lupus. However, some people are at higher risk for lupus, including this list:
- Women between 15 and 44 years old
- People of certain racial or ethnic groups – including African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Native
- Americans, and Pacific Islanders
- An individual with lupus or an autoimmune disease in the family
Is it possible to cure?
It has currently no cure. It is treated by controlling the symptoms of the disease and limiting the damage to your body caused by the disease. It is possible to manage lupus to minimize its impact on your life, but the disease can never completely go away.
Is it possible for Lupus to cause death?
It does not directly cause death, but its symptoms and organ damage do. Various health conditions, such as kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, and infection, can cause serious harm and be fatal.
Can it spread to other people?
The condition is not contagious and cannot be transmitted through touch, sneezes, or coughs.
The right time to see a doctor
A persistent rash, fever, aching, or fatigue that is unexplained should be consulted by your doctor.
Lupus medications: what are they and how do they work?
It can be treated with the following medications:
- Steroids (corticosteroids, including prednisone): Rashes can be treated with steroid creams. Creams can be used safely and effectively for mild rashes. For mild or moderate symptoms of lupus, steroid creams or pills may be effective in low doses. When internal organs are threatened, steroids can also be given in higher doses. Side effects are most likely to occur at high doses as well.
- Hydroxychloroquine: This medication can help control mild lupus-related symptoms, such as skin and joint problems. As well as fatigue and mouth sores, it can be used for this purpose.
Azathioprine: Originally used to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, it is now commonly used to treat the more severe aspects of lupus.
- Methotrexate: Another chemotherapy drug that suppresses the immune system is this drug. The use of this medication has become increasingly popular for skin conditions, arthritis, and other diseases that are non-life-threatening and not responding to medications like hydroxychloroquine or low doses of prednisone.
- Cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil: In addition to chemotherapy medications, these medications significantly reduce the immune system’s activity. These medications are used to treat more severe cases of lupus, especially kidney-related lupus.
- Belimumab: is a monoclonal antibody that reduces the activity of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that produce autoantibodies. In addition to causing tissue damage, autoantibodies are important. When other treatments haven’t been successful in treating lupus, this medication is used instead.
- Rituximab: A medication that is a monoclonal antibody that reduces the activity of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that make autoantibodies. Treatment with this drug may be used in cases of lupus that haven’t responded to other types.
How can I prevent flare-ups?
It cannot be prevented, but you can take steps to prevent flare-ups of your symptoms by making changes to your daily life. Consider the following suggestions:
Keeping out of the sun:
Many people with lupus have issues with sun exposure. When the sun is out, you should try to avoid going outside during peak hours, wear protective clothing (long sleeves and hats with brims), and always wear sunscreen.
Keeping on the move:
When you have pain in your joints, it may be tempting to sit down or rest. However, low-impact exercises can be beneficial.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Making wise food choices, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress are a few good habits to keep in mind. There is also a strong connection between lupus and heart disease. Ensure you are working with your healthcare team to reduce your risk of heart disease.