What is Lupus?
Lupus is a kind of autoimmune disease wherein the body’s natural defenses or the immune system attacks its own healthy tissues, causing inflammation. This disease is a lifelong process and has the possibility of becoming severe. SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) is the most common type of Lupus.
Causes of Lupus
This autoimmune disease remains a mystery in the medical world. The exact cause is still unknown, although doctors believe that there are specific genes that can affect the immunity of a person and develop a risk of having Lupus. If a member of the family has Lupus, there is a higher possibility that others will develop the disease as well. There are also findings that environmental factors can cause the disease as well. Some are possibly caused by viral infections such as shingles and toxins from cigarette smoke and mercury. Thus, those with smoking habits can benefit well from getting help with smoking addiction to reduce the likelihood of lupus.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of Lupus may come and go and affect each patient differently. A flare is a term used when the symptoms are present. When they are under control, they are called remissions.
Although symptoms vary, there are common symptoms seen in most patients:
- Joint pain or swelling
- Feeling of tiredness
- Skin rash
- Weight changes
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Fatigue and body malaise
Since lupus symptoms vary greatly for every patient, it may take a while for the doctor to have a complete assessment.
One of the diagnoses used by doctors is a physical checkup. The health history is recorded and several tests must be taken before determining Lupus. No single lab test can diagnose this disease.
The treatment of lupus is tailor-fit based on the different signs and symptoms since they greatly vary for every patient. Some of the common treatments are listed below:
- Corticosteroid cream – indicated for skin rashes
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – indicated for pain, swelling, and fever
- Corticosteroid pills – used when other medicines cannot suppress the symptoms.
- Immunosuppressants – used in severe cases of lupus.
- Anti-malarial Drugs – for upset stomachs
The treatment and management for lupus also involve lifestyle changes that patients need to adhere to. See to it that you get to have your medical appointment regularly. Visit your healthcare provider on a regular basis. Get enough rest and sleep since you are prone to fatigue, and remember to slow down when you need to.
Avoid skin damage from sun exposure by wearing sunscreen lotions and protective clothing, since the sun can induce flares in Lupus. Try to eat healthily and be physically active. Exercise has been proven to improve one’s health and it can also fight depression effectively. It can improve body and mind condition. Also, eat lots of fruits and vegetables that are good for cardiovascular health. Since you are more prone to depression and body malaise, try to avoid stress and smoking.
Always monitor your signs and symptoms and take precautionary measures if you have flares.