According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.4 million Americans affected by lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus). Lupus is a disease in which the body's defense turned against each other. The disease affects the body through the mobilization of antibodies and cells of body tissues. This applies to joints, muscles and other body parts. Sometimes, the kidneys, heart and brain are intact.
With treatment and proper management, people with lupus can lead active and healthy life, but without treatment, complications can be fatal lupus.
Symptoms vary from person to person, even with the same person from time to time. The most common symptoms are:
- Rash or butterfly on the bridge of the nose and cheeks, or scaly skin rash shaped disc on the face, neck, chest or
- The sensitivity to sunlight. People with lupus often severe rash or a sunburn after only a short time in the sun.
- Skin ulcers, usually painless, on the tongue or inside the mouth or nose.
- Arthritis. People can occur if, joint pain, stiffness and swelling.
- Inflammation of the lining of organs like the heart and lungs (serum), which makes breathing causes pain or shortness of breath or chest pain.
- Renal dysfunction, such as inflammation, with or without symptoms, or is accompanied by swelling of the legs, and blood pressure.
- Brain or spinal cord problems, accompanied by headaches, seizures or mental disorders.
A person can also occur:
- With fatigue, dizziness, headaches or depression
- Unexplained fever, which may be an early sign of lupus
- Raynaud's phenomenon, in which the fingers, toes, nose and ears, pale and numb when exposed to cold
- Chest pain that may accompany the cough
- Swollen glands, legs or around eyes
- Digestive problems, including loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and weight loss
- Unusual hair loss.
- Depression or difficulty concentrating. This may be the result of disease or response to living with a chronic illness.
If lupus is not treated or controlled, these complications can lead to:
- Kidney inflammation that can cause pain, but can not be detected in urine and blood tests. A blood test is used to monitor renal function.
- Problems with the central nervous system, such as headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, mood swings and seizures.
- Blood and blood vessels. These include anemia, increased risk of bleeding, increased risk of blood clots or inflammation of blood vessels.
- Inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. This painful and may increase the risk of respiratory form of pneumonia.
- Chest pain as a result of inflammation of the heart muscle, arteries or the membrane of the heart. The main cause of death in people with lupus today, cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks. It is not clear whether this is because people with lupus live longer, or a complication of treatment. Exercise and not smoking, controlling hypertension and reducing cholesterol levels all help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Infection, the need to treat the disease and death of tissue due to the fact that the blood supply to certain areas is limited. The hip joint is often affected and can cause pain when walking.
For women of childbearing age, lupus involves special risks, including:
- Difficulties in getting pregnant. Outbreaks of disease and drugs used in treatment can lead to infertility.
- Higher risk of miscarriage. The risk is greatest at the beginning or the end of pregnancy. This risk can be reduced by careful planning and care.
- Increased risk of complications during pregnancy. Outbreaks are more likely. The risk of hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease in pregnancy is also higher.
- Limited possibilities of birth control. Women can not tolerate the pill well, and you should not use IUDs because of the risk of infection.
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of lupus is unknown. Many doctors believe that a combination of factors (including genetic, environment and hormones), leading to its development. Lupus itself is not hereditary, it is possible that certain combinations of genes to make a person more likely to develop the disease. Virus or bacterial infection may then cause disease.
Although anyone can develop lupus at any age, it most often affects older women. risk factors most common:
- Sex. Women are nine times more likely than men to develop lupus.
- Race. African Americans are three to four times more likely than whites to develop the disease.
- Family history. Parents increases the chances of lupus.
- Pregnancy. Lupus sometimes appear for the first time during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
Lupus is often difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary from one person to another. The symptoms may vary over time. Your doctor may suspect the disease before symptoms become more evident. Almost all people with lupus to flare-ups and times when the disease disappears.
Diagnosis and treatment have greatly improved over the last fifty years. Although the disease is not curable, there are many possibilities for its management. Some criteria are useful in the diagnosis of lupus, including:
- Sun sensitivity
- Kidney problems
- Neurological problems such as seizures or psychosis
- Blood problems such as anemia
- The symptoms of immune problems
Doctors have a range of tests to diagnose lupus, including:
- Examination and medical history, physical
- A blood test to obtain a complete blood count, measurement of hemoglobin, red blood cells, white cells and platelets. The results may indicate anemia, which often occurs in lupus. A small number of white blood cells, may also occur.
- Blood tests to see how quickly red blood cells settle to the bottom. If you're drowning in the blood rapidly may indicate inflammation or other lupus or infection.
- A blood test to see how the kidneys and liver are working
- Urinalysis. This may show abnormal levels of protein or blood cells.
- Antibody tests. When antibodies are present, may indicate an immune system disorder.
- Chest radiography may show lung problems, which may be a sign of lupus
- ECG, electrical tests of the heart
- Test for syphilis. This has nothing to do with the inspection for venereal diseases.
There is currently no cure for lupus, but treatment can relieve symptoms and reduce complications. Lupus is considered depends on how the organs affected. Because lupus can take many forms, to find the best treatment takes time and should be tailored to patient needs.
Your doctor may prescribe various drugs, including:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen, may reduce inflammation in joints and other tissues
- Antimalarials. Nobody knows why these drugs to improve lupus. They can be useful for the treatment of skin and joints, and inflammation of the surface of organs like the heart and lungs. These drugs can not outbreaks of disease.
- Immunosuppressive drugs, which reduce the normal immune response. These can be implemented if it is widely disseminated affecting the organs, especially kidneys. Immunosuppressive drugs can cause anemia and low white blood cell count. They can also increase the risk of infection and cancer. Your doctor may prescribe, if steroids are ineffective or to allow a lower dose of corticosteroids to reduce side effects. Sometimes, even with medication, the kidneys may fail, and dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary.
Lupus can not be a serious illness, or it can be a serious, potentially fatal one. The following precautions should be followed:
- Know the symptoms. Recognize when they are worse, and treat them. This may reduce the risk of permanent damage to tissues or organs. Early treatment can reduce the time spent on high doses of drugs that cause side effects.
- Work with your doctor and take medication only
- Avoid exposure to sunlight. Wear hats, long sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid UV light and prevent relapses. The use of sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 hours Stay fastest, the sun - 10:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Because lupus is a systemic problem, it is preferable to treat patients with the disease in general taking care of themselves. To improve immune function in patients who are:
- Get Enough rest
- Exercise regularly
- Do not smoke. Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and causes harmful effects of lupus on the heart and blood vessels.
- Limit your intake of alcohol, which can affect the liver, kidneys, heart and muscles. Alcohol may also interact with medications.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Consult a doctor during the pregnancy test, that measures can be taken to ensure a safe pregnancy. It can reduce the risks for mother and child.
- Reduce stress and use relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation
- Build a network of support from family, friends or a support group organized.