What Is Lupus

What is Lupus? 

 Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Lupus is the Latin word for wolf. Autoimmune refers to the immune system response against any of its own tissues, cells, or cell components. Lupus causes your immune system, which is designed to ward off viruses and germs that enter the body to attack its own defense system followed by destroying healthy cells and tissues. In other words, someone who has lupus immune system is confused and starts to attack itself. Your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells that are supposed to protect the body from germs and viruses.  Lupus affects women ages 15-45 years of age. Lupus is more common in African American and Native American women than in Caucasians, Asians and Hispanic women. Lupus is more common in women than in men however men can get lupus.  Symptoms vary in every person who lives their lives battling lupus.  However, symptoms may come and go but there is no cure for lupus. Lupus is also known as the great mimicker; it acts as several different illnesses for this reason it is very difficult to diagnose.  To diagnose lupus there are several tests one should undergo for the doctors to conclude that it is lupus. Lupus is known as an invisible illness. The rash was named lupus because doctors many years ago believed the rash looked as if someone was bitten by a wolf.  Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) is one of the test that is used to help diagnose lupus. There are 4 types of lupus, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Discoid lupus, Drug-induced lupus and Neonatal lupus.

Types of Lupus

1.Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

This is the most public form of Lupus commonly known as SLE. SLE is very familiar for its causing a special facial rash called malar rash is commonly known as “the butterfly rash” which is located across the Nose Bridge and cheeks. This butterfly rash worsens when exposed to sunlight.  The systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is when the body’s immune system wrongly attacks healthy tissues and cells. SLE affects the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and many other bodily organs. Many develop arthritis after being diagnosed with Lupus which causes the joints of the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees to become affected. 

Common SLE symptoms

  1. Malar rash “Butterfly rash”
  2. General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise) 
  3. Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
  4. Unexplained fever
  5. Chest pain upon deep breathing
  6. Unusual loss of hair
  7. Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  8. Swelling (edema) in legs or around eyes
  9. Mouth ulcers
  10. Swollen glands
  11. Extreme fatigue
  12. Mouth sores
  13. Sensitivity to sunlight
  14. Swollen lymph nodes 

2.Discoid Lupus

(CUTANEOUS) only affects the skin. This type of lupus causes rashes and or lesions, these rashes and or lesions can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, neck, and scalp. Lesions and rashes on the scalp cause hair loss. Many people who are diagnosed with Discoid lupus develop SLE.

3.Drug-Induced Lupus

This occurs when someone takes certain types of medication. The symptoms that occur during (DIL) taking these medications are extremely similar to SLE symptoms.  The pain caused by these medications that cause DIL to vanish once the medication is stopped. The symptoms are usually completely gone within 6 months however the Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) test (used to help diagnose lupus) may show positive for years after the symptoms are gone.

4.Neonatal Lupus

This form of lupus is very rare; it is found in newborns whose mothers have been diagnosed with lupus. Some infants with NL are born with a serious heart defect.  Neonatal causes skin rashes, anemia, and or affects the liver. There is no permanent damage and the symptoms go away in a few months.

 

 

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