What is Lupus?

Lupus is a complicated autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack its own organs and tissues.

Lupus Symptoms

Lupus regularly causes “butterfly rash” across the nose and cheeks. The rash is common but doesn’t occur in all cases. Many different rashes can appear across the ears, scalp, neck, hands, shoulders and chest. Symptoms vary from mild to extreme and typically arise in flares that become increasingly worse over time. Some of the unusual signs of lupus are fatigue, pain and swelling of the joints, pores, skin rashes and fever.  

Lupus Risk Factors

Signs and symptoms of Lupus develop gradually, or may come on suddenly. No two cases of Lupus are the same and symptoms can be mild or permanent. The autoimmune disease can produce chest ache, extended sensitivity to sunlight, alopecia, hair loss, anemia or leucopenia in the variety of crimson blood cells. White blood cells, paleness of the hands due to terrible oxygenation of the body’s extremities are all common signs too. Risk factors for Lupus include being female and although people of all ages are affected, it’s most commonly diagnosed in the 15-45 age group. Being African=American, Hispanic or Asian-American seem to increase the risk too.

Lupus Causes

People who have Lupus in their family history are more likely to inherit the disease. Largely, its cause is unknown but environmental triggers can be to blame. Potential Lupus triggers include exposure to sunlight. This may bring on lupus skin lesions or trigger an internal response in those who are susceptible. Having an infection can cause lupus or a relapse. Certain kinds of antibiotics, blood pressure medications and anti-seizure medications can all trigger Lupus too. People who have drug induced lupus tend to get better when they stop medications.

Lupus Complications

Lupus can create serious kidney damage and failure, making it one of the leading causes of death among those with lupus. When the brain is affected by lupus, behavioural changes, dizziness, headaches, vision problems and strokes/seizures can all occur. Lupus leads to an increased risk of blood clotting, as it causes inflammation of the blood vessels. Pleurisy is another risk factor as when the chest cavity lining is inflamed, breathing is painful. Lupus also increases cardiovascular disease and heart attack risk, by creating inflammation of the heart muscle, arteries or heart membrane.

Treatments For Lupus

One of the most common treatments for Lupus is Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), to reduce pain, swelling and fever associated with the condition. Antimalarial drugs such as Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) can decrease lupus flares, while Corticosteroids can counter any inflammation. Immunosuprressants such Azathiopine, Mycophenolate and Methotrexate may be helpful in more serious cases. As with all drugs, it’s important to be aware of the side effects before taking them. Enjoying a healthy diet, regular exercise and taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements can all benefit people with Lupus and keep their bones healthy. Having regular doctor check-ups is recommended to monitor Lupus symptoms and address any ongoing health concerns.