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Lupus - the causes, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment

Updated on August 9, 2016


Technology has done a pretty good advancement in the field of medical sciences. But the more the medical science has developed so has the diseases. With every discovery and invention done for the purpose of cure, there evolves new challenges In the form of diseases. And Lupus is one such challenging disease. Different varieties of lupus have been identified, but the type that any of us refer to simply as lupus is known as systemic lupus erythematosus or even SLE.

It is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a type of disease where the immune system is misleads to cause ill effects like inflammation and injury to one's own body tissue instead of attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. And the worst thing about this disease is that there is no specific cure and approximately 80% of lupus patients are women.


What causes Lupus?

There are various factors behind triggering the disease, which can be genetic, hereditary or environmental; however the exact cause of this deadly disease is still unknown. It is also believed that lupus is caused by alterations in the immune system. . Other factors that prompt the process include the stress of illness, certain medications, viral infections and sometimes pregnancy.

It is mostly predominant in women because it is believed to be triggered by hormones such as estrogen regulates the progression of the disease because symptoms tend to flare before menstrual periods and/or during pregnancy.

There are various environmental factors which are also known to cause Lupus by physicians like medications and antibiotics, especially those in the sulfa and penicillin groups, Exposure to ultraviolet light, usually from sunlight, Chemical exposure to compounds such as trichloroethylene in well water and dust, Extreme stress, Smoking and certain infections.


What are the symptoms of lupus

symptoms of lupus

There are several symptoms of LUPUS which vary from patient to patient. : Lupus can involve the joints, skin, and internal organs and there are chances that the vital organs like lungs, heart, and kidneys to get affected in many patients. Few of the symptoms of lupus are:

1: Chest pain when taking a deep breath

2: Sensitivity to the sun

3: Swollen and achy joints (arthralgia), arthritis especially in wrists, small joints of the hands, elbows, knees, and ankles

4: Abnormal blood clotting problems

5: Red rashes, most often on the face

6: Anxiety, depression, headaches, and memory loss

7: Skin lesions or rashes, especially on the arms, hands, face, neck, or back

8: Anemia: a condition in which oxygen carrying deficiency of red blood cells

9: Hair loss or alopecia

10: Prolonged or extreme fatigue and fever.

How can Lupus be Treated?

If a person has an affirmative report in the diagnosis process then he is advised to go for regular checkup and tests like urine tests to check for kidney problems and regular blood tests to check for anemia.

Guarding yourself from the sunlight

Exposure to sunlight can sometimes make symptoms such as rashes worse, and it's important to protect your skin when in the sun.

This means wearing clothing that covers your skin layer, a wide-brimmed hat and shades. You will also need to make use of sunscreen with a high SPF to prevent sunburn. However, a lot of people with lupus are not sun-sensitive and do not need to take extra safety measures.

As people get most of their vitamin D as a result of direct sunlight on the skin, there is a risk you may not get enough of this vitamin if you need to avoid sun exposure. This implies you may need to make an extra work to include good resources of calciferol in your diet to avoid problems such as osteoporosis (weakened bones), and you could be recommended to take vitamin Deb supplements.

Lupus Image
Lupus Image | Source

How is Lupus Diagnosed

Lupus is a disease complicated to be diagnosed. The tricky thing about this disease is that lupus affects different people in different ways, making it difficult to diagnose. And hence to diagnose this disease the doctors have to run many tests else it is difficult to detect. Few basic tests that are conducted to find out include:

1: Kidney and liver assessment which is done to look for certain enzymes and albumin

2: Complete blood count (CBC) to detect low platelet count, anemia and low white blood cell count

3: Urinalysis which is done to measure protein levels or red blood cells in the urine

4: Erythrocyte sedimentation rate which is mostly referred to as the ESR test is carried out to determine the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a tube in an hour. If the rate is faster than normal then it may indicate lupus or another systemic disease, inflammatory condition, or infection.

5: Syphilis test is conducted to determine if anti-phospholipids antibodies that are in the blood.

Living with Lupus (Youtube Video)

© 2013 Temilola Waliu Globalwalyy


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