Knowing lupus: What it is, what its symptoms are and how it is treated
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, that is, it affects the immune system of the sufferer: as in other diseases with these characteristics, the immune system is not able to distinguish intruders from healthy cells, and attacks them by mistake causing inflammation.
Lupus, as we have said, is an autoimmune disease that can damage by mistake many of the organs of our body such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin or even the brain.
There is not a single “model” of lupus, but there are different types depending on its causes and symptoms:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus: is the most common type of lupus. It can affect different parts of the body and appears in buds, which can be of different intensity.
- Discoid lupus: This type of lupus occurs with a rash on the skin.
- Subacute cutaneous lupus: a type of lupus that develops with blisters on the skin after exposure to the sun.
- Drug-induced lupus: occurs when taking some medicines or anti-biotics, but disappears when you stop taking them.
- Neonatal lupus: it is rare and affects newborns, probably due to the presence of antibodies from the mother.
The most common type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus, which can affect many body systems. It is not a fatal disease as long as it is followed up and treated.
The difficult diagnosis of lupus
Anyone can suffer lupus, although women are the most affected (nine out of ten cases of lupus occur in women), especially if they are not Caucasian and if they are of childbearing age.
Lupus is a difficult disease to diagnose, being multisystemic and susceptible to affect many organs of the body
Lupus is a very difficult disease to diagnose because it is a multisystem disease , which can affect, as we have said, different organs of the body; In addition, its development is slow and can last for years. The outbreaks and symptoms of lupus come and go and, although there may be triggers, such as infections, the use of antibiotics and medications, hormones or stress, are quite unpredictable. In addition to all this, there is no single test that can be done to know if we suffer from lupus.
An early detection of lupus by professionals and based on classification criteria, and start treatment as soon as possible is vital to ensure good quality of life to patients with this disease.
The symptoms of lupus
Although today we do not know exactly the causes of lupus, it is thought that they may be related on the one hand with genetic factors (a certain predisposition in some people, although it is not determinant) and on the other with environmental factors.
The symptoms of lupus are very varied and change in each person, although the most common are fever, joint inflammation, fatigue, skin rashes, muscle pain, sores or ulcers, sensitivity to the sun, swelling in the legs or around the eyes or hair loss.
Other less common symptoms that may also accompany outbreaks of the disease are anemia, headaches and dizziness and even seizures.
As we explained above, the outbreaks and with them the symptoms appear and disappear unpredictably, something that makes the diagnosis of the disease even more difficult.
This is how lupus is treated
The treatment of lupus is focused on preventing the appearance of outbreaks and improving the quality of life of the patient. It is very important, as we spoke recently in the case of psoriasis, that people suffering from lupus are actively involved in the treatment of their disease, knowing it and being aware of the impact it can have.
For this it is essential to be alert to the warning signs that appear before an outbreak arises, such as the fact of beginning to feel more tired, the appearance of a rash, muscle aches or fever without a specific cause.
The treatment of lupus involves different health professionals, including rheumatologists, nephrologists, dermatologists or endocrine doctors, among others. They will be responsible for applying the appropriate treatment based on specific drugs to control outbreaks and also to keep under control other problems related to the disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.