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March 28, 2024

Lupus is a chronic and complex disease that causes pain and inflammation in any part of the body, including the following:

·      Brain

·      Skin

·      Kidneys

·      Joints

·      blood cells

·      Lungs

·      Heart

It is an autoimmune illness, which means that your immune system, which is normally responsible for fighting infections, destroys healthy tissue instead.

The exact cause is unknown, but factors like hormones, environmental triggers, and genetics cause this condition.

Types of Lupus

There are several types of lupus, including:

1.  Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): This is the most common kind of lupus, which means you can have it all over your body. This type affects over 80% of those who have the condition.

2.  Drug-induced lupus: Some drugs can cause lupus symptoms as a side effect. It is usually transient and may go away if you discontinue the drug that caused it.

3.  Neonatal lupus: Lupus can be present at birth in certain babies. This rare condition is caused by certain antibodies from the mother.

4.  Cutaneous lupus: This type affects the skin alone. It is characterized by a butterfly-shaped rash over the cheeks and nose.

Who gets Lupus?

Anyone can develop lupus. It’s more common among women aged 14-44, or throughout their childbearing years. African-American women are three times as likely to have lupus than white women. People with a family history of lupus or other autoimmune illnesses are more likely to acquire this condition themselves.

What causes lupus?

Lupus develops when your immune system attacks the healthy tissue in your body. And why does this happen, nobody knows. However, it’s most likely caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Potential triggers may include exposure to sunlight, medication, and infections. 

What are the symptoms of lupus?

There isn’t just one initial lupus symptom or sign. Symptoms usually develop slowly. This includes:

·      Fatigue

·      Rashes

·      Muscle and joint pain

·      Mouth sores

·      Blood clots

·      Swelling in the arms. Face and legs

·      Headaches

·      Hair loss

·      Fever

·      Kidney problems

·      Swollen lymph nodes

·      Organ damage

·      Anemia

·      Dry eye

·      Sensitivity to light

·      Seizure

·      Reynaud’s syndromes

It is crucial to note that the signs and symptoms of lupus can vary greatly between people and with time. Some people may only have minor symptoms, but others may have severe symptoms that greatly impair their quality of life.

How is lupus diagnosed?

Lupus is difficult to diagnose due to its wide range of symptoms and unpredictable progress. Lupus is often diagnosed by healthcare practitioners using the following:

·      physical examination

·      a thorough medical history

·      laboratory tests

·      imaging studies

·      treatment response

Diagnostic criteria are frequently used to aid in the diagnosis of lupus. These criteria were developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC).

How is lupus treated?

Lupus is treated with a combination of medicines, immunosuppressive treatments, and lifestyle adjustments. Each individual’s lupus treatment plan will be tailored to their symptoms, medical history, and reaction to treatment.

Some commonly used drugs to treat lupus are:

·      Antimalarial medications

·      Corticosteroids

·      Immunosuppressive medications

·      Biologic Therapies

·      NSAID’s

·      Biologics

Lupus Flare-ups and Prevention

Most patients with lupus go through phases of remission. Their symptoms could improve or disappear, and flares, in which new or worsening symptoms emerge. Although this cannot be prevented, flares can be managed and reduced in frequency.

To prevent and lessen lupus flare-ups, avoid activities that cause your symptoms. This includes:

·      Getting enough rest

·      Avoiding sun exposure

·      Staying active

·      Managing stress

Living with lupus can be taxing. However, it is critical to acknowledge and appreciate your ability to manage your symptoms daily. If you believe that talking to someone about your feelings may be beneficial, ask your healthcare practitioner about mental health resources and support groups.

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