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Home :: Lupus

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:

  1. Abnormal cells in the urine.
  2. Arthritis.
  3. Butterfly rash on the cheeks.
  4. Low white blood cell count, low platelet count, or hemolytic anemia.
  5. Mouth sores.
  6. Seizures or psychosis.
  7. Sun sensitivity.
  8. The presence in the blood of a specific antibody that is found in 50 percent of people with lupus.

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

Suggested dosage
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids 3,000-8,000 mg daily.

Aids in normalizing immune function.


50-100 mg daily. Do not exceed this amount

3 mg daily

Aids in normalizing immune function; protects the skin and organs and promotes healing. Use zinc gluconate lozenges or OptiZinc for best absorption.

Needed to balance with zinc

Calcium and magnesium

1,500-3,000 mg daily.
750 mg twice daily.
Necessary for pH balance and protection against bone loss due to arthritis.
Vitamin E 400-800 IU dally Powerful antioxidant that helps the body use oxygen more efficiently and promotes healing. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form

Herbs for Lupus treatment

  • Alfalfa capsules or tablets are a good source of minerals needed for healing.
  • Alcohol-free goldenseal extract is good for mouth sores or inflammation. Place a few drops on a small piece of gauze or cotton before bedtime and leave it on overnight for fast healing. Caution: Do not take goldenseal internally on a daily basis for more than one week at a time, do not use it during pregnancy, and use it with caution if you are allergic to ragweed.
  • Milk thistle cleanses and protects the liver. Helps to cure lupus disease.
  • Yucca is good for arthritis-type symptoms.
  • Try using licorice root as a tea or dilute it to alleviate lupus symptoms. If you are taking immunosuppressive agents such as steroids, you may find licorce root to provide comparable results without being as harmful to your system. Caution: If overused, licorice can elevate blood pressure.
  • Get plenty of rest and regular moderate exercise that promotes muscle tone and fitness.

Diet for Lupus disease

  • Eat a diet low in fat, salt, and animal protein-this kind of diet keeps the immune system from being overly reactive and is easy on the kidneys. Use only canola or olive oil. Consume sardines often; they are a good source of essential fatty acids.
  • Get your iron from food sources, not supplements. Taking iron in supplement form may contribute to pain, swelling, and joint destruction.
  • Eat eggs, garlic, and onions. These foods contain sulfur, which is needed for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage, and connective tissue, and aids in the absorption of calcium.
  • Avoid the nightshade vegetables (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes). These foods contain a substance called solanine, which can contribute to inflammation and pain.
  • Do not consume milk, dairy products, or red meat. Also avoid caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco, and everything that contains sugar.
  • Avoid eating alfalfa sprouts. They contain canavain, a toxic substance that is incorporated into protein in place of arginine.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol, as this can also cause flare-ups.
Considerations and prevention tips
  • Avoid using birth control pills. They may cause lupus to flare up.
  • Use hypoallergenic soaps and cosmetics. Some deodorant soaps and other toiletry items may contain ingredients that will increase your sensitivity to light.
  • Use your back, arms and legs in safe ways to avoid putting stress on joints.  For example, carry a heavy load close to your body.
  • A test for food allergies is helpful and often very revealing in cases of lupus

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