Lupus is a very complicated disease that attacks one’s own immune system. This happens when the immune system mistakes some parts inside our body as foreign substances and therefore attacks it instead of protecting it. There are many things that one should know about this disease. These are the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and how to stay healthy.
Joints, skin, kidney, heart, lungs, brain and blood vessels are the parts of our body that can be affected by lupus. Some of the most common symptoms of lupus are fatigue, inflammation in the joints, very high fever, red rashes and kidney problems.
There are five types of lupus, namely:
SLE or Systemic lupus erythematosus: This affects many parts of the body. The symptoms of it can be mild and severe and usually affects people within 15 to 45 years old.
Discoid lupus: This affects the skin. A person with this kind of lupus will have red and raised rashes that will occur for days or weeks at a time.
Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus: This lupus type causes lesions in the parts of the body that are usually under the sun. this doesn’t cause scars.
Drug-induced lupus: Side effects from medications can cause this type of lupus. Most times the lupus symptoms will go away when the patient stop taking the medicine that caused it.
Neonatal lupus: This uncommon type of lupus affects newborns of women that have SLE and other diseases.
Causes of lupus: The causes of lupus are not exactly known yet. However, it is believed to be caused by genetics, the environment and hormones. The following factors below are being studied researchers to know if these can also cause lupus:
- Particular medicines
- Viruses and other infectious agents
A person’s immune system with lupus produces auto antibodies that attack joints and body organs instead of protecting it. One of these auto antibodies is the Anti Nuclear Antibody. The causes of lupus are still largely unknown and compounding the vagueness is that each patient shows different symptoms.
The symptoms of lupus that are most common to all of the patients are arthritis, unidentified type of fever, severe fatigue, malar rash and sensitivity to sunlight. There can also be hair loss, mouth ulcers, anemia, chest pain, headaches, depression and seizures.
Body Organs that can be affected:
Kidney: Nephritis will occur with no pain at all. In some cases, the ankles of the patient will swell.
Lungs: If the lungs are affected, it will cause pleuritis that also causes the symptoms such as chest pain and breathing problems.
Central Nervous Symptom: If this is attacked, this will cause the symptoms that occur in the head.
Blood Vessels: The person with lupus that attacks the blood vessels will likely to have vasculitis that affects the circulation of the blood.
Blood: If affected, the person can have anemia leukopenia and thrombocytopenia and abnormal blood clotting.
Heart: The heart can have inflammation if affected by lupus. This will cause chest pains and other symptoms of lupus.
Pregnant Women: Lupus symptoms in women will put her at a high risk if she plans to get pregnant. She can have miscarriage and premature birth. A woman planning to get pregnant should not have signs of lupus or taking medications for six months before she plans to get pregnant.