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What is Lupus Erythematosus?
Fatigue can be debilitating
Who Gets Lupus Erythematosus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease meaning the body mistakenly attacks it's own tissue. It can and does affect joints, heart, kidneys, liver and brain.
Doctors have been stumped by automimmune diseaes for years and now beginning to make some breakthroughts. It is seen primarily in women and those being between the ages of 21 to 45 and of black or asian descent. There appears to be some hormonal factors as well.
A cure is not found so doctors called rheumatologists deal with the pain and complications caused by the disease. Other immune diseases include fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
The disease is notorious for going into flares and remissions and it is important for each patient to learn the signs of a flare as well as the triggers or causes of the flare.
Triggers can be anything from stress to fatigue to food, lack of sleep, overexertion, sun exposure or even medication and eating the wrong food.
For years women with Lupus were advised not to have children because of the danger of a flare but now doctors can monitor mothers to the point of preventing them very cautiously from going into a severe flare.
Disease overview of systmeic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE
Signs and Symptoms
Lupus E is usually diagnosed when a person developed symptoms and then blood work confirms the diagnosis. The usual affending symtomes include but are not limited to
- Mouth sores or ulcer
- hair loss
- extreme fatigue
- muscle and joint pain
- family history
- rash sometimes across the nose resembling a wolf (the Butterfly Rash)
- changes in thought process
- Raynauds or fingers and toes turning numb and blue when exposed to cold
- Pleurisy or inflammation of the lining surrounding the lungs.
- Sensitivity to light both sun and UV
Vitamin D3 Thera;h
Many people with chronic illness suffer low vitamin D. Don't wait until your levels are dangerously low to start supplementation.
When someone develops enough of these symptoms they are usually referred to a specialized doctor or rheumatologist.
This doctor will check your blood specifically
- Double stranded DNA
If these tests come back positive you will then be evaluated for any complications and put on medication to keep you from or to get you out of a flare.
A flare is when the disease is active and doing it's dirty work to your body
Your immune system has mistakenly gone on high alert and is destroying good tissues.
One of the first medications lupus patients may be given is Plaquenil an anti malerial drug that somehow prevents joint damage and stops further inflammation of your tissues. It is slow acting and can take 2 to 3 months to work and can take away pain.
It is not benign in that there are side effects. Most of these are small and go away in time but 1 in 5000 people develop retinopathy or damage to the retina. A lupus patient on plaquenil needs to see an opthamologist every year to make sure there is not damage. If there is it is usually reversible with discontinuation of the plaquenil
Medications used for Lupus Erythematosus
Other less benign treatments include Glucocorticoids to stop the inflammation. In the short tern they can cause increased appetite, swelling, weight gain and mood swing, Long term they can cause osteoporosis, damage to the eyes such as cataracts, diabetes. These drugs are produced by the adrenal gland which slows down it's own production while a patient is taking steroids, For this reason you should always wean off steroids so your adrenal glands can begin functioning properly.
Immunosuppressants such as methotrexate and others are used for major organ damage to organs such as the kidney or brain. They can cause hair loss, nausea , fatigue and increased risk of later developing cancer.
Your doctor will also probably start you on an anti inflammatory drug. It may take some trial and error to find the right on for you
Other Self helps
Other possible things lupus patients can do i
- Get B vitamins for energy.
- Have your cortisol levels tested through your saliva and if needed start a supplement
- Get exercise but never overdue
- Take vitamin D because you should not be in the sun or under UV lights with lupus
- Get plenty of good sleep
- Try to keep stress low
- With the stress recognition try to find out what triggers your flares and keep these things to a minimum.
- Get massages
- Take warm baths at bedtime
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Take a good D3 vitamin as because of staying out of the sun deficiencies are often found.
In Conclusion Systemic Lupus can be life threatening but with proper monitoring and care you can live a normal life. It will take a lot of discipline as far as diet exercise, keeping up with your medication and finding your triggers and eliminate as many as possible.
Managing Chronic Pain
Links to other Lupus Articles
- Lupus and Alternative Treatments
Information about Systemic Lupus Erythematosis - shortened to
- Lupus living with a Chronic Illness
Lupus is an autoimmune illness that affects more women than men, more black women and presents with different symptoms in different people.
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
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- Lupus Disease -Symptoms and Treatments
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