What is Lupus? Symptoms, Type, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Home » Lupus: Symptoms, Type, Diagnosis and Treatment
Garry Stewart
Written By Shasta Wilson

January 15, 2022

Medical Condition- Lupus : Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and its treatment

Lupus refers to a long-term autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks the healthy and normal tissues.
The symptoms of the health condition include

  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Damage to skin, joints, heart, kidney, lungs, and blood

Other Symptoms!

The symptoms of Lupus take place during times of flare-ups. Lupus shows a wide range of symptoms and signs, including:

  • Appetite or weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling around the eyes or in the legs
  • Swollen glands
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to sun
  • Skin rashes
  • Unusual hair loss
  • Chest pain
  • Pale fingers
  • Arthritis

Because of the complex nature of the health condition, people sometimes call it a disease of 1000 faces.

And if we alone talk about the United States only, people report around 16000 new cases of Lupus each year.

“The lupus foundation of America says that the health condition affects women in particular and is most likely to occur in people ages 15 and 44 years. It is not a contagious disease, so a person cannot transmit the health condition sexually or in any other way.”

However, in the rarest cases, the women with the health condition may give birth to a child who develops a type of Lupus that is known as neonatal Lupus.

Types of Lupus

The person may experience different types of Lupus. Let us get acquainted with the types of Lupus.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is one of the most familiar types of Lupus. It is basically a systemic condition that has an impact throughout the body.

The symptoms of this type of Lupus can range from mild to severe. This type of Lupus is more potent than discoid Lupus as it can affect anybody’s organ.

This type can also lead to inflammation in the joints, skin, lungs, blood, heart, kidney, or any combination. The condition usually goes through cycles, and during remission, the patient may also have no symptoms.

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is a type of Lupus whose symptoms affect the skin only. A rash may appear on the neck, scalp, and face.

The raised areas may become scaly, scarring, and thick. And the rash may last from a few days to several years.

This type of Lupus doesn’t affect the internal organs, but almost 10% of people with this type may develop SLE.

Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus

Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus is a skin lesion that appears on the body parts exposed to the sun. However, these lesions do not cause scarring.

Drug-Induced Lupus

Around 10% of the patients with SLE show symptoms due to a reaction to specific prescription drugs.

These drugs include some medications that people use to treat high blood pressure and seizures. There may also include thyroid medications, antifungals, antibiotics, and oral contraceptive pills.

However, the most commonly associated drugs that can lead to this form include:

  • Hydralazine
  • Procainamide
  • Isoniazid

Neonatal Lupus

Several babies born to mothers diagnosed with SLE are healthy. Still, on the contrary, almost one percent of the women with auto-antibodies relating to
Lupus can have a baby with this type of Lupus.

The key symptoms of this type include dry mouth and dry eyes. Babies with this type of Lupus may experience liver issues, skin rash, and lower blood count at birth.

Causes of Lupus

Lupus refers to an autoimmune disease whose exact cause is unclear.
Risk factors included!
Lupus may develop due to several factors. This includes

Hormones

Hormones are the chemical substances produced by the body that controls and regulate the activity of some specific cells and organs. The hormonal activity can explain the following risk factors:

  • Sex
  • Age

Genetic Factors

The researchers have no proof that any of the genetic factors cause Lupus, but genetic factors may be the reason why are the following risk factors for Lupus:

  • Family history
  • Race

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors like viruses or chemicals may also trigger Lupus in people who are already genetically susceptible to the disease. The possible ecological triggers may include:

  • Smoking
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Viral infections
  • Medication

Diagnosis of Lupus

The diagnosis of Lupus is challenging as the health condition symptoms vary from person to person. However, the symptoms may change over time and overlap with several other disorders.

Not a single test can diagnose the health condition. But a combination of blood and urine tests, symptoms, and physical examinations can lead to the diagnosis.

Laboratory Tests

The urine and blood tests may include

  • Complete blood count
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • Urinalysis
  • Kidney and liver evaluation
  • Antinuclear antibody test

Imaging Tests

  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram

Treatment of Lupus

The treatment of Lupus depends on several signs and symptoms. Finding whether a person should be treated and what medicines require a careful discussion of the risks and benefits.

And as the symptoms flare and subside, your doctor may discover that you will need to change the medications. The commonly recommended medications to control Lupus include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Biologics

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

Several lifestyle changes and home remedies can also help control the health condition. If you can bring some changes, then you must try to

  • Include regular exercise
  • Be sun smart
  • See your doctor regularly
  • Take a healthy diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Ask your doctor if you require Vitamin D or calcium supplements

What can you do?

Before seeing a doctor, you must get an answer to these queries

  • What are the possible causes of the health condition?
  • What can trigger the symptoms?
  • What are the recommended tests?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes to deal with the health condition?
  • Are there any restrictions to be followed?

Also, the doctor might ask a few questions, including

  • When did the symptoms begin?
  • Do the symptoms come and go?
  • Have your siblings and parents had Lupus?
  • Does anything seem to trigger the symptoms?
  • What supplements and medications do you take regularly?

Bottom Line!

Though the exact cause of the health condition is hard to diagnose but you need to see the medical doctor immediately to get your health condition checked.

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