Lupus – An Autoimmune Disease

Lupus

What Is Lupus?

Immune system includes organs and processes that play a significant role in attacking toxins and fighting infections by developing antibodies. When this system gets abnormally active, it attacks the healthy tissue since it is no longer able to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ tissue which eventually leads to inflammation. This disease is known as lupus which usually affects joints, brain, kidneys, lungs, blood cells and heart. According to theories, some people have the tendency of developing lupus since birth. Lupus is triggered through infections, sunlight and certain drugs in such people.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lupus?

Since lupus occurring in one victim is never precisely similar to the other victim, the symptoms that evolve could differ. Depending on the lupus, symptoms could be long lasting or may end soon, could be severe or lenient and could develop promptly or gradually. In most cases, however, victims have a moderate disease distinguished by flares i.e. symptoms may initially be severe but then improve or get eradicated forever. The common symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Skin photosensitivity.
  • Joint pain and swelling.
  • Memory loss and headache.
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and bridge on the nose is the most common symptom.

Therefore, the rash could indicate lupus. However, it is highly recommended to see a doctor when any combination of the mentioned symptoms shows up.

What Causes Lupus?

Lupus is generally caused either due to genital or environmental factors. Despite the fact that the cause of lupus is unknown in most cases, researchers believe that people with inherited lupus tend to suffer from the disease because of the following factors:

  • Exposure to sunlight might activate lupus.
  • Consumption of certain blood pressure and/or anti-seizure medications and antibiotics.
  • Presence of an infection.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Lupus?

A few characteristics of a person may increase the risk of having lupus including:

  • An age of between 15 years to 40 years.
  • African-Americans, Asians and Hispanic people.
  • Gender; it is more common in women.

What Are The Complications That May Arise To A Lupus Victim?

Depending on which part of the body is affected, the following complications may arise:

  • Kidney damage.
  • Brain damage leading to headaches, hallucination and dizziness.
  • Lung damage leading to breathing problems.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Miscarriage in pregnant women.
  • Death of bone tissue.
  • Cancer.

How Is Lupus Diagnosed?

Since lupus can affect many parts of human body, diagnosing it is not an easy task. However, doctors use more than one test to diagnose lupus:

  • Urinalysis.
  • Antinuclear antibody or ANA test.
  • Blood counting.
  • Chest X-ray.
  • Biopsy.
  • Assessing liver and kidney.
  • Echocardiogram.

With a combination of these tests, lupus can be diagnosed.

How Is Lupus Treated?

Although the treatment of lupus depends on the part affected and symptoms evolved, the following medications are popularly known for controlling lupus:

  • Corticosteroids to eliminate the inflammation.
  • Immunosuppressant to suppress the immune system.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs for the treatment of pain, fever and swelling.
  • Antimalarial drugs to treat malaria.

Use of fish oil and vitamin D could also be beneficial. Avoiding cigarettes, reducing exposure to sun and eating healthy could help improve the symptoms.

 

By : Natural Health News

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