What is Lupus?
Lupus is the disease of autoimmune. In this disease, immune system of body becomes hyperactive such that instead of attacking antigens it attacks the normal and healthy tissues of body. Antigens are foreign body which attains response from immune system. Examples of antigens are bacteria and the virus. Antigens are harmful for body. Immune system in its functioning makes protein called antibodies which fight with antigens to destroy them. Due to the lupus disease immune system is unable to differentiate between the antigens and the normal tissues of the body. When antibodies attack the healthy tissues it causes swelling, pain, damage to joints, kidneys, blood, skin, lungs and even heart.
Lupus is one of the widespread diseases and is chronic autoimmune disease. Research has shown that 1.5 million Americans are affected and around 5 million people worldwide. More than 16,000 Americans are being diagnosed with the Lupus disease. About Lupus disease its America’s least recognized as being the major disease. Women are known to be more afflicted then men.
About Lupus disease many types have been identified:
Lupus is generally referred to Systematic Lupus Erythematosus or just SLE. Its severe form of lupus as it affects the organ of body or even the organ system. Erythematosus Lupus is known to have periods of flare and period of remission. Systematic Lupus as its also called affects the skin, kidneys, joints, heart, lungs and brain as well.
Discoid lupus is limited to affecting the skin only. Rash appearing on face, neck and on scalp are characteristics. Internal organs are not affected. Discoid lupus can progress to systematic lupus form of disease.
Drug Induced lupus: this is due to reaction to some prescription drug. The symptoms subside once patient stops taking drugs.
Neonatal lupus is when the pregnant mother or feeding mother pass this condition to the child.
Causes of Lupus disease:
The exact cause is yet unknown, but its believed that lupus is caused both due to genetic predisposition and the environment stimuli or trigger. Environmental factors and triggers include:
Exposure to the UV light (usually sunlight!)
Antibiotics with Sulfa and Penicillin groups
Infections like Cytomegalovirus, Parvovirus, Epstein Barr Virus, Hepatitis C
Chemical exposure like trichloroethylene
Symptoms of the Lupus:
Lupus has wide range of symptoms affecting many parts of body. Symptoms can be mild, severe, permanent or just temporary. Lupus happens to few organs and but serious cases leads to problems in the kidneys, lungs, nervous system and to blood also.
- Achy and swollen Joints
- Swelling in hands and feet (due to kidney affected)
- Skin lesions and rashes
- Pain in chest during deep breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Prolong fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Hair loss
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Weight loss or gain
- Dry eyes
- Mouth ulcers
There many other symptoms as well which happens when the lupus affects the organs and its organ system. It can become severe, or fatal and can result in eventual death in some cases.