What is Lupus?

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Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system starts attacking healthy cells and tissues in your body. As a result, organs like kidneys and heart are affected, and patients suffer from severe symptoms.

The symptoms of Lupus are hard to identify and can often be mistaken as symptoms of other illnesses. Thus, if you suspect you have Lupus, consulting a Rheumatologist in Islamabad immediately should be your choice.

What Causes Lupus?

The exact cause of lupus is still unknown, however several factors that may play a role in causing it are:

  • Environmental factors:

Environmental factors like being exposed to toxins on a regular basis and the amount of sunlight a person’s body is getting, can be a trigger for lupus.

  • Genetics:

If someone in your family has Lupus, you are more likely to get diagnosed with it than someone who doesn’t have any genetic or family history of lupus .

  • Hormonal Changes:

High levels of estrogen can put you at risk of getting lupus. Thus, women are more likely to get this disease than men due to their increased levels of estrogen during reproductive years.

  • Medications:

Certain medications like Apresoline and Procanbid can also cause a form of Lupus. This type of Lupus is known as drug-induced lupus erythematosus.

What Are the Types of Lupus?

Lupus can be grouped into 4 types which are as follows:

  1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is the most common type of lupus. It attacks multiple organs and parts of the human body like kidneys, skin, joints, and the nervous system.

  1. Cutaneous Lupus:

This type of lupus only attacks the patient’s skin. As a result patients suffer from rashes, lesions, and scarring.

  1. Neonatal Lupus:

It is a rare type of lupus only found in newborns whose mothers have certain autoimmune antibodies. As a result, infants may experience a skin rash, low blood cell count, and liver problems. Most of these symptoms go away after some time.

  1. Drug-Induced Lupus:

Drug-Induced Lupus occurs due to long-term usage of prescription medications like Apresoline, Procanbid etc. In most cases, it goes away after patients stop using the medication that triggered Drug-Induced Lupus.

What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?

Symptoms of lupus vary according to the type of lupus a person is suffering from. However, some common symptoms of lupus are:

  • Inflammation in different parts of body
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes
  • Lesions
  • Breathing issues
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Body pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Pericarditis
  • Pleuritis
  • Depression
  • Blood clots
  • Anemia
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach issues
  • Kidney problems
  • Lung problems
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

It is important to understand that these symptoms may indicate some other diseases as well. Thus, consulting a doctor is the best way to rule out the possibility of any other disease.

How Is Lupus Diagnosed?

Diagnosing lupus can be a difficult task due to the wide range of symptoms that patients might experience. It is because these symptoms can be easily mistaken as a symptom of some other disease. Other than that, symptoms of lupus may take some time to clearly show up. Thus, to diagnose lupus your consultant may:

  • Ask about your family history
  • Do multiple lab tests to check for blood count, kidney abnormalities, etc.
  • Examine your symptoms
  • Do Antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing

What Are Some Treatments of Lupus?

Since lupus is a chronic condition, no cure for it has been discovered yet, but it can be treated by managing the symptoms. Following are some common treatment options for lupus that prevent the patient’s condition from worsening and keeping vital organs safe.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressives
  • BlyS-specific inhibitors

In addition to that, a Rheumatologist in Lahore may also prescribe medications to manage related conditions like high blood pressure, etc.

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