Lupus: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that cripples part of one’s body. It recently rose to prominence because Selena Gomez was diagnosed with it. Understanding her problems will tell us the dangers of Lupus and how to beat it.

What is lupus and why is Selena Gomez sick?

“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke,” Gomez told Billboard Magazine in a recent interview. Ninety percent of lupus sufferers are women, and most first report symptoms between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the CDC. Because it has such a varied presentation, doctors may not initially suspect that a patient has the disease. To diagnose it, doctors look for any of these symptoms and also test the blood for the presence of antinuclear antibodies, or ANAs.

Is there any difference from Rheumatoid arthritis?

Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are both autoimmune diseases. In fact, the two diseases are sometimes confused because they share many symptoms. There are many differences between lupus and RA. For instance, lupus might affect your joints, but it’s more likely to affect your internal organs and your skin than RA. Lupus can also cause life-threatening complications. These may include kidney failure, clotting problems, or seizures, which are not symptoms of RA.

RA, on the other hand, primarily attacks your joints. It affects the fingers, wrists, knees, and ankles. RA can also cause joints to deform, while lupus usually doesn’t.

What are Lupus hands?

A patient with lupus may have rheumatoid-like deformities including ulnar deviation, swan neck deformities and subluxation of the thumb, MCP and PIP joints. This pattern of deformity is characteristic of Jaccoud’s arthropathy. The changes are usually reversible since they are due to tendon involvement rather than synovial damage and so the patient does not usually require or benefit from joint surgery. Importantly, X-rays of the hands of lupus patients rarely (approx 4%) show erosions.

What are the symptoms of Lupus?

The vast majority of lupus patients at some point will have joint pain with inflammation, some form of skin rash, and fatigue. Other than these drug-induced lupus is a rare adverse reaction to medications that mimic the symptoms of the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It usually begins after a person has taken a drug for at least three to six months. They are mainly drugs used to treat chronic conditions such as heart disease, thyroid disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), neuropsychiatric disorders, inflammation, and epilepsy. This form of lupus is also accompanied by chest pain.

Can lupus be cured completely?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for lupus. Lupus, however, can be treated. There are medical treatments and other natural treatments available to patients. Treatment for lupus focuses on managing the symptoms that are present and the organs that are attacked. The most common treatment prescribed for lupus are corticosteroids and antimalarials. Non-medical treatments involve the controlling triggers for lupus. Patients are strongly advised to avoid exposure to UV light, cigarette smoking, silica, solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals. Alcohol consumption is also prohibited for lupus patients.

What is the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the form of the disease that most people are referring to when they say “lupus” and is the most common form of the disease different from drug induced lupus.

How to deal with Lupus flare ups?

Limiting stress, regular exercise, healthy diet and limited exposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet light, such as fluorescent or halogen lights reduces Lupus flare ups. Lupus may cause problems for a pregnant woman and her baby. As a result, women with lupus should carefully plan any pregnancy. They should not stop using their method of birth control until they have discussed the possibility of pregnancy with their doctor and he or she has determined that they are healthy enough to become pregnant.

How lupus affects the renal (kidney) system?

Lupus nephritis is the term used when lupus causes inflammation in your kidneys, making them unable to properly remove waste from your blood or control the amount of fluids in your body. Lupus nephritis most often develops within the first five years after the symptoms of lupus start. It usually affects people between 20 and 40. In the early stages of lupus nephritis, there are very few signs that anything is wrong. Often the first symptoms of lupus nephritis are weight gain and puffiness in your feet, ankles, legs, hands, and/or eyelids. This swelling often becomes worse throughout the day. Also, your urine may be foamy or frothy, or have a red color. The first signs of lupus nephritis often show up in clinical laboratory tests on the urine.

How common is SLE Lupus in India?

SLE is rare in India. A prevalence study in India (carried out in a rural population near Delhi) found a prevalence of 3 per 100,0002. This is a much lower figure than reported ones from west. So, if you are worried about Lupus, see your doctor with the hope that it will not be Lupus. You can search for a doctor from CareClues or consult a Nephrologist online.