What is Lupus?

, Health A2Z

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a disease that can affect anyone with any age. It is most often diagnosed or seen in young women, between the ages of 15 to 44.

It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake that damage many parts of the body.

Studies show that there is no known cure for lupus, but effective treatments are available.

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What Are the Types of Lupus?

The most common type of lupus known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) that affects many parts of the body.

Other types of lupus including;

Cutaneous lupus is a type of lupus that causes a lesion or rash on the skin when exposed to sunlight.

Drug-induced lupus which is similar to SLE and caused by an overreaction to certain drugs or medications.

Neonatal lupus is the type of lupus that occurs when an infant acquires auto-antibodies from his mother with SLE.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Lupus:

Anyone can get lupus, mostly affect women. The disease is more common in women of African American, Asian, Hispanic and Native American descent than in Caucasian women.

According to the most recent study, genes play an important role and have a specific risk factor, but genes alone do not determine who gets lupus.

Causes of Lupus:

The cause of lupus resides unknown, but there is an evidence that genetics, environmental factors, epigenetics (changes in chromosomes that affect gene activity), viruses, and infections play a role in causing lupus.

Health Risks of Lupus:

The most serious health risks are kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. People with lupus are at increased risk for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), but in some people, inflammation can occur in the heart itself (endocarditis and myocarditis) or the membrane that surrounds it. Endocarditis can damage heart valves that result in heart murmurs. The disease also attacks the central nervous system or brain that can cause stroke or seizures.

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Diagnosis of Lupus:

There is no single test that diagnoses lupus, and it could take months or a year to be sure. The doctor will conduct a complete medical history and physical exam, including blood tests, and may also perform kidney and skin biopsies to make a diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Lupus:

A person may need to see different kinds of doctors to treat the several symptoms of lupus. Once the person is diagnosed, his/her primary physician for lupus is a rheumatologist, who treats arthritis and other diseases which cause swelling in the joints. The rheumatologist may then send the patient or person to a clinical immunologist for treating immune system disorders

A treatment plan may goals for;

  • Preventing or treating flares
  • Preventing or reducing organ and joint damage
  • Reducing swelling and pain
  • Helping the immune system
  • Balancing hormones

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