Lupus, which is also known as systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissue. It is a chronic autoimmune condition that can cause inflammation throughout your body however, it tends to primarily be a localized condition, so it is not always systemic.
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your body’s immune system is responsible for the breakdown of its own cells. Many people with lupus experience a mild version of it, but it can become severe without treatment. As, there is no cure for lupus, so treatment focus only on easing symptoms and reducing the inflammation.
Healthcare doesn’t know what causes lupus but they think that a combination of many underlying factors below the points may cause it.
The Causes Of Lupus Are:
- Environment- Healthcare providers have identified potential triggers that can cause lupus that involves smoking, stress, and exposure to toxins.
- Genetics- More than 50 genes associated with lupus have been identified whereas having a family history of lupus may put a person at slightly higher risk for experiencing a condition.
- Hormones- Some studies suggest that abnormal hormone levels, that is increased estrogen levels contribute to lupus.
- Infection- Healthcare providers are still researching the connection between the infection like the Epstein Barr and Cytomegalo virus and the causes of lupus.
- Medication- Long-term use of certain medications such as hydralazine, procainamide, and quinidine have been linked with causing a form of lupus called drug-induced lupus.
The symptoms of lupus can depend on the parts of your affected body. The inflammation seen in lupus can affect the various organs in your body. They are:
Symptoms can vary according to the individual. They may be :
- Disappear suddenly
- Flare-up occasionally
Although no two cases of lupus are the same, the sign and symptoms include:
- high fever
- joint pain
- rashes including a butterfly rash on your face
- body aches
- shortness of breath
- skin lesions
- memory loss
- pleuritis and pericarditis causing the chest pain
- Sjorgren’s syndrome involves dry eyes and dry mouth.
The inflammation from lupus can also cause complications that include various organs such as the kidneys, blood, lungs. The symptoms of lupus start as you are entering adulthood which can be anywhere in between your teens or into your 30’s. Some early sign includes fatigue, fever, rash, dry mouth, swollen joints, the problem with your lungs, kidney, thyroid and also hair loss especially in patches which is referred to an alopecia areata.
There are similar to symptoms of other conditions, so experiencing them doesn’t necessarily mean that you have lupus.
Treatment for lupus depends on your signs and symptoms as your sign and symptoms flare and subside, you and your doctor may find that you will need to change medications. The medication most commonly used in order to control lupus include:
1) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, Aleve may be used to relieve pain, swelling as well as fever-related with lupus. Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription whereas side effects may include stomach bleeding, kidney problems, and an increased risk of heart problems.
2) Antimalarial drugs
Malaria commonly used to treat malaria such as Plaquenil affect the immune system and can help to decrease the risk of lupus flares. Its side effect involves the stomach upset, damage to the retina of the eye. Regular eye exams are recommended for those who use these drugs.
Prednisolone and other types of drugs like corticosteroid can counter the inflammation of lupus. High dose of steroid such as Medrol is often used to control serious disease that involves the kidneys and brain in which its side effects are thinning bones, high blood pressure, increased risk of infection, diabetes and easy bruising. The risk of side effects increases with the higher dose.
Drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful in serious cases of lupus such as azathioprine, mycophenolate, cyclosporine, and leflunomide which potential side effects include an increased risk of infection, liver damage, and an increased risk of cancer.
A different type of medication, belimumab which is given intravenously that also reduces the lupus symptoms in some people. Its side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and infections whereas depression can also occur.
Other drugs for the treatment of lupus are currently being researched, including Orencia, anifrolumab, and others.