Lupus Information - Symptoms And Treatment
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect many of the body's organs. It is an autoimmune diseasethat is, it occurs when the immune mechanism forms antibodies that attack the body's own tissues. Many experts believe that it is due to an as-yet-unidentified virus. According to this theory, the immune system develops antibodies in response to the virus that then attack the body's own organs and tissues. This produces inflammation of the skin, blood vessels, joints, and other tissues. Heredity and sex hormones are two other possible factors in the development of this illness.
This disease was named lupus, which means "wolf," because many people who got it developed a butterflyshaped rash over the cheeks and nose that was considered to give them something of a wolf like appearance. In fact, rashes may appear elsewhere on the body as well, such as the chest, ears, hands, shoulders, and upper arms. At least 90 percent of those who contract lupus are women, and women of Asian background appear to be at greater risk of developing lupus than other women. Lupus usually develops between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five, although it may occur at any age.
There are two types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). As the name implies, SLE is a systemic disease that affects many different parts of the body. The severity can range from mild to life threatening. The first symptoms of many cases of SLE resemble those of arthritis, with swelling and pain in the fingers and either joints. The disease may also appear suddenly, with acute fever. The characteristic red rash may appear across the cheeks; there may also be red, scaling lesions elsewhere on the body. Sores may form in the mouth. Other signs and symptoms can include abdominal and chest pains, blood in the urine, fatigue, hair loss, loss of appetite, lowgrade fever, nausea, poor circulation in the fingers and toes, shortness of breath, ulcers, vomiting, and weight loss. The lungs and kidneys are often involved. Approximately 50 percent of those with SLE develop nephritis, inflammation of the kidneys. In serious cases, the brain, lungs, spleen, and/ or heart may be affected. SLE can cause anemia and inflammation of the surface membranes of the heart and lungs. It can also cause excessive bleeding and increased susceptibility to infection. If the central nervous system is involved, amnesia, deep depression, headaches, mania, paralysis, paranoia, psychosis, seizures, and stroke may be present.
The discoid type of lupus is a less serious disease that primarily affects the skin. The characteristic butterfly rash forms over the nose and cheeks. There may also be lesions elsewhere, commonly on the scalp and ears, and these lesions may recur or persist for years. The lesions are small, soft yellowish lumps. When they disappear, they often leave scars. If these scars forms on the scalp, permanent bald patches may result. While DLE is not necessarily dangerous to overall health, it is a chronic and disfiguring skin disease. Some experts have related it to a reaction to infection with the tubercle bacillus.Both types of lupus follow a pattern of periodic flare-ups alternating with periods of remission. Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can result in a flare-up of DLE and may even induce the first attack. Fatigue, pregnancy, childbirth, infection, some drugs, stress, unidentified viral infections, and chemicals may also trigger a flare-up. Drug-induced cases usually clear up when the drug is discontinued.
Information on the symptoms of Lupus
According to the American Rheumatism Association, four of the following eight symptoms must occur, either serially or at the same time, before a diagnosis can be made:
A kidney biopsy may be needed to diagnose lupus related nephritis.
Information on the causes of Lupus
We don't know what causes lupus. There is no cure, but in most cases lupus can be managed. Lupus sometimes seems to run in families, which suggests the disease may be hereditary. Having the genes isn't the whole story, though. The environment, sunlight, stress, and certain medicines may trigger symptoms in some people.
Vitamins and nutrients for Lupus
Herbs for Lupus treatment
Diet for Lupus disease
Considerations and prevention tips
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