Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake and damage many parts of the body.
Lupus often diagnosed in young women (ages 15 to 44).
About 9 out of 10 adults who suffer from lupus are women.
And is a serious auto immune disease can affect anyone.
- Muscle and joint pain: Stiffness, swelling. Swelling in neck, thighs, shoulders and upper arms
- Fever: Higher than 100 F, caused by inflammation and infection.
- Rashes: On any part of the body that is exposed to sun – face, arms and hands
- Chest pain: Inflammation of lining of the lungs causes chest pain
- Hair loss: Bald and patchy spots
- Sun or light sensitivity: Exposure to sun light can cause fever, fatigue, joint pain, rashes in some people
- Kidney problem: Half of the people with lupus develop kidney problem “Lupus nephritis” and the will gain weight, swollen ankles, high BP and decreased kidney function
- Mouth sores: Ulcers, sores on roof of the mouth, sometimes in gums, cheeks and on lips
- Extreme fatigue: Feeling exhausted even after enough sleep
- Memory problems: Forgetfulness or confusion
- Blood clotting: Higher risk of blood clotting, in legs, lungs, stroke, heart attack or repeated miscarriages in women
- Eye disease: Dry eyes, eye inflammation and rashes in eyelids
Lupus in women:
In women lupus can raise the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney disease. Genes play important role in getting lupus. However, researchers are studying possible causes of lupus in women – Environment, stress, sunlight, smoking, viruses, hormones such as estrogen and of course the problem with immune system.
Lupus is more common in women during childbearing years when the estrogen levels are highest. All women with lupus who get pregnant are at high risk pregnancy and might may face problem during pregnancy. If someone has lupus, it should be under control or in remission for 6 months before getting pregnant. If not, it might result in miscarriage, still birth or can affect baby’s health. Some who has lupus might even develop high blood pressure, lung disease, heart failure, chronic kidney failure in pregnancy.
Lupus diagnosis and treatment:
Lupus diagnosis is based on medical history, family history, physical exam, blood and urine test, skin or kidney biopsy. Analysis of list of above mentioned symptoms will help to diagnose the condition.
As mentioned, it is a chronic disease and there is no cure. One can manage lupus with treatment but it will not go away. Treatments will help to improve symptoms, prevents some health problems and flares.
The goals of treatment include: preventing flares, treating symptoms when it occurs, reducing organ damage. Treatment depends on the organs involved.
Lupus in kidneys or and brain is the most serious form. One should carefully plan in getting pregnant when they know they have lupus. Lupus can flare during pregnancy and the affect is more to bear.
Medicines might be prescribed for:
- Reducing swelling and pain
- To calm immune system to prevent attack on organs and tissue of patients body
- Prevent damage on joints
- Reducing and preventing organ damage.
There are different medications physicians may prescribe.
Some people try creams for rashes, ointments, fish oil or supplements. Seeing chiropractor for joint problems and homeopathy for inflammation related pain is an option.
Before proceeding with your own medication talk to your doctor or rheumatologists and understand what might be good for you.
How to live with lupus?
Initial step is to get good doctor and support from family and friends. With support one can face the chronic pain and unpredictable illness of lupus. Understand about lupus and stay active as much as possible. Do not give up. Avoid excess sun exposure and sunlight can both cause and increase rash to flare and trigger serious flare of the disease itself. Wear protective clothing – ling sleeves, wide hats and use good sunscreen.
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Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: June 6, 2018