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There are many skin diseases that can be irritating and harmful for your skin, but one such disease that can have a long-term effect on your body is Lupus. Lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus is known to be a long-term autoimmune disease in which the immune system of the body becomes active and attacks normal and healthy tissues. Some of the most common symptoms of this disease are inflammation, swelling and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart and lungs. The nature of this disease is so complex that people often call it as the “disease of 1000 faces”.
However, the disease is often difficult to diagnose because some of the symptoms are quite similar to other common ailments. Most commonly the disease is identified by a facial rash that is similar to the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks. This happens in most of the cases, but not in all the cases of lupus. But, before you come to any conclusion it is important to gain an understanding of what Lupus is, so you can get better treatment for yourself. To have a deeper understanding of the disease, you can also read about Lupus symptoms.
Let’s dig deeper and get an insight about understanding Lupus some more and its causes?
What is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus?
Like every other disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus also has different types and the severity varies from person to person. Every case of Lupus is different from the first one and none of the cases are alike. The signs and symptoms of the disease may appear suddenly and abruptly. Experts say that the main reason is unclear and it is an autoimmune condition. Proteins protect the body and fight off antigens such as viruses, bacteria and germs. This protection process done through proteins produced within the body are called antibodies.
So, when a person has an autoimmune condition, such as Lupus, the immune system fails to differentiate between unwanted substances, or antigens and healthy tissues. The result of which is the immune system directs the antibodies against both the healthy tissues and antigens, which causes swelling, pain and tissue damage. These antibodies are antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and they react with the part of the cell’s nucleus which is the command center of the cell.
The antibodies circulate in the blood, but some body cells have walls permeable enough to let some antibodies through. The antibodies can attack the DNA in the nucleus of these cells and this is the reason that lupus affects some of the body organs and not others.
Risk factors of the disease are hormones, genetic factors, environment, and gut microbiota.
Now, let’s have a look at the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus symptoms.
Also, read about: Psoriasis: Autoimmune Skin Disease
Most common symptoms of lupus are
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Pain or swelling in joints and muscles
- Swelling in the legs or around the eyes
- Swollen glands or lymph nodes
- Skin rashes
- Nose bleeding under the sun
- Mouth ulcers
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Fever and headaches
- Chest pain upon deep breathing
- Unusual hair loss
- Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold
Majorly the symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus occur in the time of flare-ups. Between, flare-ups people usually experience times of remission, when there are few or no symptoms.
Complications of Lupus
The disease also has some complications, which can affect many areas of your body including:
- Kidneys: It can cause some serious kidney damage and often leads to kidney failure, which is one of the major causes of death among people in the US.
- Brain and central nervous system: When Lupus affects the brain; you may experience headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, vision problems and even strokes or seizures. People facing difficulty with Lupus experience memory problems and may have difficulty expressing their thoughts.
- Blood and blood vessels: The disease may also lead to blood problems, including anemia, and increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting. It can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis).
- Lungs: With Lupus your chances of developing an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy) which makes breathing painful is high. In extreme cases, bleeding into the lungs and pneumonia are possible.
- Heart: The disease can also cause inflammation of your heart muscle, your arteries or heart membrane. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks.
Also, read about: 6 Ways to Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Now, let’s have a look at the Lupus treatment.
According to studies, there is no cure for Lupus, but the symptoms and flares can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
The treatment of the problems aims to prevent or manage flares, or reduces the risk of organ damage.
Consuming doctor prescribed medicines is a sure way of curing ailments, but there are some home-related therapies that will help in relieving or reducing the pain. These remedies are:
- Applying heat or cold pads
- Participating in relaxation or meditation activities, including yoga and tai chi
- Going for regular exercises
- Avoiding exposure to the sun
- Also, avoiding stress, as far as possible
So, these were the important aspects of the disease that you need to know and that can help you or someone close to you. You must be aware of what causes Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, how it affects your body and what you can do to save yourself from it. Now that you know all about the disease it is easy to keep a check on yourself or the person suffering from it and increase the chances of leading a healthy life.
For more information and free personalized guidance, talk to Credihealth Medical Experts today.