Everything you need to know about Lupus

What is Lupus?

Lupus can cause inflammation throughout the body and is a chronic autoimmune condition. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune condition that can cause inflammation throughout the body.

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An autoimmune condition is one in which your body’s immune system is responsible to the destruction and inflammation of its own cells.

Although lupus can be mild for some people, it can also become more severe if it is not treated properly. Lupus is currently not curable. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and decreasing inflammation.

Lupus types

Healthcare professionals typically classify four types of Lupus.

Systemic lupus, erythematosus

The most common type is systemic lupus. If someone says they have Lupus, it is most likely that they are referring to SLE.

SLE is named because it can affect multiple organ systems in your body. These include:

  • kidneys
  • Skin
  • Joints
  • Heart
  • Nervous system
  • lungs

SLE can be mild or severe. SLE can cause symptoms that get worse over time, but then they improve. The Lupus Foundation of America states that flares are the time when symptoms become more severe. Remissions are periods in which symptoms improve or disappear.

Cutaneous lupus

It is usually only a mild form of lupus that affects your skin. It can cause skin rashes or permanent lesions that result in scarring. There are several types of cutaneous Lupus. A 2019 study identified the following:

Acute cutaneous lupus. This type can cause a “butterfly-rash”. This is a red rash on the nose and cheeks.

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Subacute cutaneous lupus. This type of cutaneous Lupus can cause a rash to appear on the skin that is reddened, raised and scaly. It is most common on areas that have been exposed in the sun and doesn’t usually cause scarring.

Chronic cutaneous Lupus. This can cause a red or purple rash. This can cause hair loss, skin discoloration, scarring and even scarring. It may also be called discoid Lupus.

Acute cutaneous Lupus can be associated with lupus elsewhere in the body. However, chronic and subacute cutaneous Lupus usually only affects the skin.

Neonatal lupus

This rare condition affects infants born to parents with certain autoimmune antibodies. These autoimmune antibodies can be transmitted through the placenta from one parent to another.

These antibodies are not necessarily indicative of lupus. Research shows that only 25% of neonatal Lupus-infected mothers don’t experience lupus symptoms. It is estimated that 50% of these mothers will experience symptoms within three years.

This condition can be characterized by:

  • a skin rash
  • Low blood cell count
  • liver problems after birth

Some babies may experience developmental problems in the heart. However, most symptoms will resolve within a few months.

These antibodies can be detected during pregnancy and should be monitored closely. Specialists such as a high-risk obstetrician and a rheumatologist will be part of your care team. A doctor who is trained in fetal-maternal medicine is an obstetrician.

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Drug-induced Lupus

  • Drug-induced lupus can be caused by prescription medication. DIL can also be called drug-induced lupus.
  • DIL can be caused by long-term prescriptions. It usually occurs within a few months of starting a medication.
  • DIL can be caused by many drugs. Some examples include:

Antimicrobials such as terbinafine, an antifungal, and pyrazinamide, a tuberculosis medicine, are available.

  • Anticonvulsant drugs like phenytoin and valproate
  • Arrhythmia drugs such as procainamide and quinidine
  • High blood pressure drugs, such as hydralazine

Biologics known as anti-TNF alpha agents (e.g. infliximab (Remicade), etanercept [Enbrel]).

DIL can mimic the symptoms of SLE but it doesn’t usually affect major body organs. It can lead to pleurisy and pericarditis. DIL is usually gone within weeks after stopping the medication that caused it.

Is lupus curable?

  • There is currently no cure for Lupus. There are many treatments that can help manage your symptoms.
  • A 2019 review found that treatment for Lupus is based on many factors.
  • Lupus symptoms can be treated
  • Preventing lupus flares
  • Reduce the damage to your joints.

It is important to follow the recommended treatment plan of a healthcare professional to help you manage your symptoms and live a fulfilled life.

Scientists and doctors continue to research lupus in order to develop new treatments.

Lupus symptoms

Lupus symptoms can vary depending on which parts of your body are affected. Lupus inflammation can cause inflammation in many organs and tissues of your body.

  • Joints
  • Skin
  • Heart
  • Blood
  • lungs
  • Brain
  • kidneys

Individuals may experience different symptoms. They could include:

  • Permanent
  • All of a sudden disappear
  • Sometimes, flare up

There are no two cases of Lupus the same. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the most common signs and symptoms of lupus are:

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  • High fever
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • joint pain

Rashes on the face, including a butterfly-rash

  • skin lesions
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Sjogren’s syndrome is characterized by chronic dry eyes and dry lips.
  • Both pleuritis and pericarditis can cause chest pain.
  • Headaches
  • There is confusion
  • Memory loss

Lupus inflammation can also lead to complications in other organs such as the:

  • kidneys
  • Blood
  • lungs
  • Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms and causes of Lupus.

Lupus photosensitivity

Too much sunlight can cause skin cancer, but many people with lupus are also sensitive to photosensitivity. Photosensitivity is a condition that makes you more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation (UV) or artificial light.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, some people suffering from lupus might find that sunlight exposure triggers certain symptoms. These symptoms can include:

Symptoms of photosensitive rashes that are primarily caused by SSA (Ro), a specific antibody

  • Fatigue
  • joint pain
  • Internal swelling
  • Wearing sun-protective clothing is important if you have Lupus.