Things you didn’t know about lupus
Wednesday 24th September
Lupus is a disease of the immune system that affects one in 5,000 white women, one in every 1,000 women of Asian origin and one in 625 women who are of African Caribbean descent. Lupus can also affect men.
Didn’t know that? Well read on to find out more things you might not know about the illness.
What is lupus?
If you are suffering from extreme tiredness, you notice an unexplained skin rash or your joints are becoming increasingly painful, you should go to your doctor and ask for tests as you are exhibiting lupus symptoms.
The cause of lupus disease is still unclear; it is the result of both genetic and environmental factors. In common with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus is an indication of the body’s own immune system attacking itself, rather than warding off disease.
Lupus also has several different types – some of which are outlined below.
This type of the condition is also known as lupus erythematosus. The word erythematosus comes from the Greek word for red, and is used to describe the lupus rash that is a feature of the disease.
Discoid lupus is the mildest form of the condition and can be controlled by prescription medication. Discoid lupus only attacks the skin but if you observe granulations of the skin, similar to frostbite, this might indicate lupus pernio, which is a sign of sarcoidosis and not lupus.
Symptoms of lupus vary in their severity, while some patients may only be aware of a mild rash, others make experience hair loss which in some extreme cases can lead to baldness.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
This form of lupus is more severe than discoid lupus. The condition may first present itself in women of childbearing age and is difficult to diagnose. SLE can affect all body organs and tissues. It generally presents itself as a flare up and can subside just as quickly as it arrived.
It is frequently painful and causes extreme fatigue. As well as skin rashes, you will experience physical discomfort and may find that your normal lifestyle will become difficult to maintain. In some patients, you run the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as a complication of the condition. Something known as lupus anticoagulant, which leads problems with blood clotting, can also be experienced.
Treatment of lupus
There is no cure for lupus, though there are a variety of lupus treatment options that will help you manage the condition. You must protect yourself from the sun, as its rays will irritate your rash; so long sleeved clothing and hats are essential during the summer.
Anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed in order to help you cope with muscle and joint pain.
Hydroxychloroquine, also used to treat malaria, can also be prescribed to help you deal with skin rashes and fatigue. This drug requires long-term usage but it will help reduce the number of flare-ups and may stop your lupus getting worse.
Steroids are also used but only in extreme cases of the disease.