What is lupus? Causes, symptoms and treatment

Lupus is a prevalent, chronic, autoimmune disease. Generally, the cases present mild or moderate. It can be controlled with special treatment. With the help of medications, it is possible to reduce symptoms, prevent them from getting worse, among others. Most of the cases present a mild or moderate clinical picture. However, it can present or develop with a serious compromise of vital organs.

Description of lupus

Lupus is a chronic disease that is autoimmune and can affect any area of ​​the body. For example: joints and internal organs. Being a chronic disease, it indicates that its signs and symptoms last for months and even years. This condition affects the entire immune system.

Being autoimmune, the body does not appreciate the difference between healthy tissues and foreign invaders. Consequently, the body is forced to produce antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissues. Their function usually causes damage in different areas and inflammation.

Various investigations carried out estimate that more than 5 million people in the world suffer from the disease. Likewise, more current studies consider that it is very likely that these statistics are even higher. However, although it is a disease that cannot be cured, until now, there are many treatments that help minimize its ailments.

Symptoms of lupus

People with lupus experience periods when the disease is active, and others not. When the disease meets the active outbreak, it implies that the patient experiences more pronounced symptoms. Meanwhile, when the condition is inactive, the affected person is asymptomatic and can develop his life in a normal way.

The symptoms that the disease presents usually vary depending on the patient, however, the most common are:

  • Aches in the muscles
  • Inflammation of the joints.
  • Fever.
  • Skin lesions, such as redness or a rash, almost always located on the ends of the face or nose.
  • Ulcers in the mouth.
  • Photo sensitivity.
  • Exhausted.
  • Hair loss.
  • Lack of appetite.

Types of lupus

In this disease, there is a type that is the most common and is known as systemic erythematosus, affects various parts of the body. However, there are other conditions related to the pathology such as:

Cutaneous lupus

In this case people are affected by skin lesions and a large number of rashes. Most of the time patients experience these flare-ups when exposed to sunlight.

Drug induced

It is similar to the first case, since it is caused by an unexpected reaction to certain medications. The symptomatology that manifests itself will generally disappear shortly after the drugs are discontinued.

Neonatal

It usually occurs when a newborn acquires autoantibodies from his mother, who is a carrier of the disease. These are immune proteins that, as a result of problems in the immune system, attack and destroy organs.

Also, liver, blood, and skin problems can develop that can go away in six months or more. The most serious problem that children face are congenital heart blocks and, sometimes, require the placement of a pacemaker.

Treatments

The treatments will depend on the type of lupus and the clinical variety. Everything will depend on how much is the level of involvement in the organs. To indicate a treatment, the doctor evaluates the severity of each particular case. However, in general, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarials, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or biological drugs are usually prescribed. In addition, other measures to consider are:

  • Sun protection, for patients with lupus erythematosus.
  • Balanced nutrition, controlling salt intake.
  • Physical exercise, within the mobility possibilities of the patient.
  • Leave behind the habit of smoking.

Other information about this condition

It is normal for individuals with lupus to ask various questions. Therefore, below we mention some relevant data about the disease:

  • It is not contagious, nor is it spread through sexual contact.
  • The disease is not related to cancer. Because this is an autoimmune disease and cancer is a rapidly growing malignant tissue condition. However, in accordance with the treatments, in both cases, immunosuppressants are used, which are also frequent in chemotherapies.
  • This pathology is not at all like HIV or AIDS, nor is it related to it.
  • The problem can occur from very mild to severe, putting the lives of those who suffer from it at risk. Therefore, it is necessary that the patient is always in contact with a specialist doctor, since with proper care they can live fully.
  • Every year a large number of new cases are diagnosed.
  • It is considered that around the world more than five million people face this pathology.
  • Most of the time, it is suffered by women in their fertile period between 16 and 45 years of age. However, this does not mean that young people, boys and men are exempt from suffering from the disease.

A normal lifestyle can be developed

Today, thanks to all the treatments that exist, lupus patients will be able to lead a normal life. In which, they will be able to carry out their activities as if they did not have any disease. For example, forming a family, working, exercising, among others.

Regarding the psychological aspect, Most people with this condition cope with the problem in a less traumatic way. This is because, generally, the outbreaks are minimal and the ailments of the affected person decrease.

On the other hand, the existence of an organic affectation can occur, which causes greater limitations that disturb people’s day-to-day life.

In this sense, each case has to be evaluated independently. It is essential not to treat all patients equally, taking into account that the disease, on certain occasions, leaves the patient completely incapacitated. In the same way, there are also other people who suffer from it and lead a life with different care, but normal.

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