lupus is an autoimmune disease which occurs when the body immune system attacks healthy body tissues instead of foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. When this happens inflammation occurs which leads to swelling, pain, and damaged tissues in the body. lupus damages different parts of the body such as:
- Blood vessels
There are several types of lupus. These include:
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: This type of lupus affects many parts of the body. It is the most common type of lupus.
- Drug Induced Lupus: This is a kind of lupus that is caused by certain kind of medications.
- Discoid Lupus Erythematosus: This kind of lupus usually causes skin rash that does not go away.
- Neonatal Lupus: This is a type of lupus that usually affects the new born.
- Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus: This is a kind of lupus that makes the skin sore when it is exposed to sunlight.
The cause of lupus is not yet known but researchers believe that certain genes that have an effect to the immune system to be the cause of the disease.
Other factors that are believed to cause lupus include viral infection that causes mononucleosis, sunlight, smoking, some medications especially those in the penicillin and sulfa groups, exposure to certain chemical compounds such as trichloroethylene which can be found in water and dust. Infections such as hepatitis C infections, cytomegalovirus (CMV), parvovirus and Epstein- Barr virus common in children are also suspected to trigger the onset of the condition.
lupus is common in women than men and it mostly affects women of African American, Native American, Asian, and Hispanic origin than Caucasian women.
lupus has several symptoms and they vary according to people affected. The common lupus symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Swollen glands
- Joint swelling and pain
- Hair loss
- Fever with unknown cause
- Red rashes in the face
- Swollen glands
- Sun sensitivity
- Chest pain especially when taking a deep breath
- Mouth ulcers
- Pale and purple fingers or toes
- Swollen legs and on areas around the eye
- Weight loss or gain
- Dry eyes
There is no single test that can be used to diagnose lupus and doctors will take months or years to diagnose lupus. Tools which can be used to diagnose lupus include:
- Blood tests
- Kidney biopsy
- Medical history
- Skin biopsy
- Complete body examination
Lupus can be treated with different drugs depending on its severity. When you experience mild to severe symptoms the following medication can be used:
- Corticosteroids: These drugs are usually used to prevent inflammation. They have side effects such as osteoporosis which the risk can be reduced by taking Calcium and Vitamin D supplements. Other side effects include diabetes, hypertension, easy bruising, increased risk of infection, and weight gain.
- Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Examples of these drugs include naproxen sodium (Aleve), aspirin, and ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil).
- Anti-malarial Drugs: These drugs are commonly used to treat lupus symptoms and prevention of flares even though there is no relation between malaria and lupus. Side effects of these drugs include muscle weakness and vision problems. An example of these drugs is Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil).
In cases of severe lupus symptoms the following drugs can be used:
- Immunosuppressive Drugs: Side effects of these drugs include infertility, cancer risk, and liver damage. Examples of these drugs include azathroprine (Imuran) and Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxam)
Lupus can affect everyone not even the famous are spared. Examples of famous people with lupus include:
She is an American singer and revealed that she has lupus through twitter.
The American recording artist once revealed during an interview with Larry King that she tested ‘borderline positive’ for lupus but she doesn’t have lupus symptoms.
The British singer has discoid lupus erythematosus which is a type of lupus that affects the skin. The scars on his face are as a result of the condition.
He was a broadcast journalist and died of heart disease, a complication of lupus at the age of 62.
He played baseball for Oakland Athletics in 1999 and other teams such as Montreal Expos in 2001 and Florida Martins. He was diagnosed with lupus after a kidney biopsy.
She was an American fictional writer. She had first lupus attack at the age of 25. After undergoing a surgery to remove a fibroid tumor her lupus which was on recession became active and she died later.
Other famous people include Mary McDonough, an actress known for her role as Erin on The Walton’s, Mercedes Yvette, a runner up of season two of American reality TV series, America’s Next Top Model and James’J Dilla’ a hip hop producer.
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